Hungary will propose to Ukraine’s new president that bilateral relations should “return to the old path”, an era when the Hungarian community in the neighbouring country’s Transcarpathia region could fully exercise their acquired minority rights, the foreign minister said on the sidelines of an international conference on Wednesday. Péter Szijjártó attended a conference on reforms in Ukraine in Toronto.
Speaking to MTI by phone, Szijjártó noted that the previous president, Petro Poroshenko, pursued an anti-Hungarian policy. The education and language laws adopted during his term violate the Hungarian community’s rights, he said. The laws are in conflict with European standards, as well as with international law and bilateral obligations, he said.
Now with a new president in office there is hope that Ukraine will not continue to pursue an anti-Hungarian policy, he said, adding that Volodymyr Zelensky’s statements “had so far been encouraging”, giving hope for optimism. The question is whether Zelensky will make sure that legal changes are implemented to “return the rights of the Hungarian community” after the autumn parliamentary elections, Szijjártó said. “Should this happen, Hungary will then support convening a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine committee,” the foreign minister said. Hungary will then also be ready to carry out a comprehensive economic cooperation plan with Ukraine including a 50 million euro tied aid programme supporting road construction in Transcarpathia, Szijjártó said.
Hungary also stands ready to resume the work of the joint economic and environment protection committees, and to continue its Trancarpathia economic development programme, he added. Szijjártó said he had held bilateral talks with Stepan Kubiv, the deputy prime minister of Ukraine, Kurt Volker, the US’s special representative for Ukraine and Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s foreign minister.