Fidesz MEP Andrea Bocskor has slammed what she called an “anti-Hungarian” election campaign in Ukraine, saying it was based on the “intimidation” of ethnic Hungarian leaders, journalists, teachers and organisations. “It is not enough for Kiev to have declared its aspirations for European integration on multiple occasions,” Bocskor said in a statement, stressing that Ukraine “must also adhere to European rules”. Recounting her address to Monday’s plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Bocskor said Ukraine’s central election committee had once again rejected the establishment of an electoral district with a Hungarian majority in western Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region. She insisted this meant that representatives of the Hungarian community would face “unequal conditions” in the elections.
Bocskor said that while the Transcarpathian Hungarian community had hoped for swift changes after the spring presidential election, “the grave abuses seen in the campaign give cause for concern.” Among the alleged abuses, she cited vote-buying, the fielding of candidates with similar names and no political background, the misleading of voters and “intimidation by the secret service”. “The Hungarian minority living in Ukraine deserves the same rights and opportunities as the ones the majority is entitled to, which is why they have a right to representation,” Bocskor added.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó lambasted as “unprecedented, unacceptable and un-European” a series of raids carried out by Ukrainian authorities of the homes of the leaders of Transcarpathian Hungarian organisations. He also said Hungary saw Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s new president, as a “new hope” and hoped that his recent encouraging statements would become reality. If the new president’s words are reflected in actions and if the Transcarpathian Hungarian community regains its rights, Hungary will be happy to get back to cooperating closely with Ukraine, Szijjártó told Hungarian reporters during a break in a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels.