Translated by Ollie Richardson
Hungary considers that the Transcarpathian Hungarians can have a second passport, apply for autonomy, and teach children in the Hungarian language…
The ambassador of Hungary to Ukraine Ernő Keskeny in an interview to “Ukranews” stated that the idea of Hungarian autonomy in Transcarpathia isn’t bad. And Transcarpathian Hungarians still have the full right to receive Hungarian passports, and in this regard Ukraine should have adapted the legislation to European norms, which allow dual citizenship. And, of course, the notorious Ukrainian law on education must consider the desires of the Hungarian minority to receive an education in their native language.
At the same time, the ambassador gave an example of autonomy in Europe – South Tyrol in Italy, where children study at schools in their native German language, and learn Italian as a foreign language.
“Just imagine, the Hungarians who have lived in Transcarpathia for 1,000 years aren’t considered as indigenous people by the Ukrainian government for some reason. Although they have been living there for already 1,000 years. And they always studied at school in the Hungarian language. And in this sense the Ukrainian language for them is not native, it’s a foreign language. For a child, learning in their native language is the most suitable option: the child can learn the teaching material most deeply in their native language. And now they [Kiev – ed] want to change it, and, of course, the Hungarian minority opposes this,” said Ernő Keskeny, noting thus that Transcarpathian Hungarians don’t dispute the need to study the State Ukrainian language. “But it isn’t necessary to do this by reducing their rights,” said the ambassador.
As for Hungarian autonomy in Transcarpathia, in the opinion of Keskeny, this idea doesn’t bear in itself any negatives. “Our politicians say that there is nothing bad about autonomy, that this is an acceptable model in the European Union. But the Hungarians of Transcarpathia, who are citizens of Ukraine, also take into account the situation that developed in the East [Donbass – ed], therefore nobody demands autonomy right now. We see that there is no accent on this currently. But I will repeat, there is nothing bad about autonomy, and autonomy has many variants. Currently Ukraine is in a special situation, war is ongoing in the East, therefore recently this [Transcarpathian autonomy – ed] has not been discussed. By the way, I would like to focus on the fact that in December, 1991, when a vote on the independence of Ukraine took place, at the same time a vote on the autonomy of Transcarpathia and the Beregovo district took place too. The majority in the country supported independence. At the same time, 78% of the inhabitants of Transcarpathia supported autonomy for their region, and 82% – for the Beregovo district. And they still haven’t received anything,” reminded the ambassador of Hungary in Ukraine.
Keskeny explained to the correspondent of “Ukranews”, who doesn’t understand what is good about autonomy: “Autonomy means that people can independently make decisions on questions that directly concern them. This is often viewed as separatism. But even the governor of Transcarpathia Gennady Moskal said that there isn’t any separatism in Transcarpathia. But the language norms need to find common ground. Keep the right of parents to make a decision where they will send their children to study. In Transcarpathia there are Hungarians who send their children to Ukrainian schools. And there are also Ukrainian families who send their children to Hungarian schools. And the fact that we help Transcarpathia by doing this hurts someone? This should be perceived as signs of separatism? We just sent 8,000 vaccines against measles there. Is this a problem? Hungary gave a loan to the Beregovo district for a ring road. The loan was given to repair the road between Beregovo and Mukachevo. Only 12% of the population of Transcarpathia are Hungarians. We help the entire population, not just Hungarians”.
In addition, Ernő Keskeny stated that Hungarians, regardless of their place of residence, have the right to Hungarian nationality. “The inhabitants of Transcarpathia who belong to the Hungarian national minority aren’t to blame because the borders have changed many times in history. They have been citizens of historical Hungary for centuries. If Hungarians live in Australia, America, in any other State, but they have Hungarian roots, they or their ancestors once lived on the territory of Hungary – then they have the moral right to our nationality. On the basis of this it is possible to address to the Hungarian authorities to receive it. The practice of dual citizenship is an acceptable practice in the majority of European Union countries. If Ukraine comes nearer to the European Union, then perhaps it will think about it in the future. I don’t exclude this option, and in the future it will allow dual citizenship. There is nothing terrible about this,” said the ambassador.
As for the scandalous Ukrainian law “On Education”, Hungary will continue to insist that the rights of national minorities in the sphere of education must be observed. “Improving the knowledge of the State language can’t happen at the expense of reducing the rights of national minorities, which are: the choice of language concerning education and the possibility of acquiring knowledge in their native language,” considers the ambassador. He, on behalf of Hungary, insists on Ukraine changing the law on education, otherwise it will lose support in the EU.
“We don’t support such a Ukraine. We support a democratic Ukraine. In 1991, we were one of the first to recognise its independence, the first to open an embassy here, and the first to establish diplomatic relations with Ukraine. And now they want to take away the rights of our national minority and wait for us to agreed with this? Of course, it is impossible to agree with this,” affirmed Ernő Keskeny.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has already accused the Hungarian ambassador of abusing his authority. “Unfortunately, Mr ambassador doesn’t understand the clear, numerous, and extremely official explanations about why Transcarpathia can’t by definition have autonomy,” wrote the Deputy Foreign Minister Vasyl Bodnar on his page on Facebook. And another deputy Minister of Doreign Affairs Elena Zerkal stated: “We already planned a conversation with the Hungarians about the fact that the ambassador exceeds his authority in Ukraine”. She added that the ambassador won’t be expelled from the country, since it “isn’t diplomatic”. However, Ukraine stood and will continue to stand on rigid and unchanging lines concerning the law on education.
There will be no dialogue with neighbors. The Kiev regime remains uncompromising.
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