Hungary has vetoed a planned December 6 meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó (pictured) at a Friday press conference, reports pro-government news portal origo.hu. The reason for the veto, Szijjártó said, was a law on education recently passed by the Ukrainian parliament which threatens to deprive the Hungarian-speaking minority there of educational opportunities in their native language.
Szijjártó said that while Hungary was previously Ukraine’s most vocal and active supporter in its moves toward European integration, the passage of the education law was like “a knife in the back” for Hungary.
The NATO-Ukraine Commission is a decision-making body responsible for developing the NATO-Ukraine relationship and for directing cooperative activities between that country and NATO ally countries. According to rather bombastic reportage from origo.hu, the commission is important for Ukraine as it displays the support of other NATO countries for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. With Hungary’s veto of the December 6 meeting, it delivered a “crushing blow” to Ukraine’s ambitions, the portal wrote.
Szijjártó ealier vowed that Hungarian diplomacy would block every issue important to Ukraine in every international forum until the Ukrainian government repeals the part of its education law which stipulates that all public education beyond grade 4 take place in the Ukrainian language. Rejection of the law was nearly universal in Hungarian politics, and politicians from almost every major party expressed their disappointment with its adoption.