Education law in Ukraine causes friction

The parliament in Kiev has passed an education law aimed at modernising Ukraine's school system. Fierce criticism of the law has been voiced in Hungary and Russia, while Romania and Poland have been more moderate in their appraisals. Critics in these countries find it outrageous that classes in minority languages are to be severely curtailed in future.

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Mandiner (HU) /

Poroshenko likely to wave through the law

Journalist Zsolt Badó explains on opinion portal Mandiner why Poroshenko is unlikely to veto the law:

“When the law was passed Poroshenko spoke very highly of it, describing it as a 'key to the future of education' in the country. ... The law will be welcomed not just by the main media in Ukraine but also by anti-minority and nationalist parties. Given the chaotic situation in the country the latter also have the greatest potential to mobilise society. So if the president were to veto the law the right-wing extremist parties would immediately turn against him. ... Consequently Poroshenko saying no to the law is pretty unlikely.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

President should use his veto

Ukraine is about to make a grave mistake, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warns:

“The goal of the controversial paragraph is to strengthen Ukrainian in the country's schools. But formulated as it is now, the suspicion voiced not just in Russia, but also in Poland, Romania and Hungary that it is aimed at driving the languages of minorities out of the schools entirely seems credible. This would not strengthen the Ukrainian language but simply alienate important sections of the population. In the hearts and minds of the people in the Russian-speaking east of the country, Kiev would pave the way for its own crushing defeat with such a move. President Poroshenko should veto the law.”

Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

Disgraceful, cynical and suicidal

Magyar Nemzet is furious:

“A disgrace: this is the word that perhaps best describes the fundamental changes in the new education law. … A disgrace because the modified law disregards the country's constitution as well as numerous international treaties. It limits the free use of minority languages, which is tantamount to discrimination. And if we were to look for a word to describe the political elite that passed the law, the first one that pops to mind is 'cynical'. … With this law Ukraine is all but committing suicide. Because how else can one describe it when a multinational state like Ukraine acts against its minorities?”

Adevărul (RO) /

Romanian minority left in the lurch

While Hungary storms and rages there has been no reaction whatsoever from Bucharest, political expert Radu Carp comments on Adevârul's blog portal:

“Romania is blocked in two respects on the Ukraine problem. First, it hasn't had a political vision for what course to take with Ukraine for ages, so that repeated violations of the Romanian minority there have gone unanswered. Second, it lacks a strategy for dealing with human and minority rights in bilateral relations. It's no coincidence that the Romanian minority is subject to a discriminatory regime not just in Ukraine, but also in Serbia and to a certain extent in Hungary too. This combination is deadly for Romanian diplomacy.”