Hungary and Romania join forces to challenge the Ukrainian minority protection law

January 27. 2023. – 11:42 AM


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Following a joint Hungarian-Romanian initiative, the monitoring committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) unanimously decided to mandate the Venice Commission, the constitutional advisory body of the PACE, with examining whether the Ukrainian law on the protection of minorities is in line with international standards, MTI reports, based on a statement by Zsolt Németh, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian National Assembly.

Zsolt Németh pointed out that despite its obligations to do so, Ukraine has not consulted with the Venice Commission or the representatives of its national minorities. According to the Fidesz MP, the Venice Commission will treat this matter as a priority and is expected to give an assessment of the law in a few months. He also stressed that it was in Ukraine's vital interest to bring the protection of minorities into line with international standards.

"Compliance with international minority protection legislation is a fundamental condition for Ukraine's integration into the EU, and this is also stipulated by the Copenhagen criteria for accession",

the Hungarian MP said.

Romania has previously indicated on several occasions that it considers the Ukrainian law on the protection of minorities adopted in mid-December. problematic. At the end of December, the Romanian foreign ministry expressed regret that the Ukrainian parliament had adopted the new law on national minorities without consulting the Venice Commission. At the time, the ministry said that the Venice Commission's opinion "would certainly have contributed to a comprehensive and clear text in regard to the European legal standards on the subject".

Then, in January, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis phoned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss, among other things, the new law on national minorities adopted by Kyiv. The president's office said at the time that Iohannis had "discussed at length" with his Ukrainian counterpart the law, which has raised concerns and discontent among the Romanian authorities and representatives of the Romanian community in Ukraine. Iohannis called on Zelensky to "quickly find solutions to address and remedy these concerns". The Ukrainian side expressed its openness to solving the problem.

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