Zelensky approves EU-recommended amendments to law on national minorities

The Kyiv Independent

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the updated law on national minorities, he said in his evening address on Nov. 3.

Changing the law was one of seven steps recommended by the European Commission in June 2022 for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.

On Sept. 21, Ukraine’s parliament approved amendments to the law on national minorities to bring the rules and definitions in line with EU standards.

The law now allows for the publishing of advertisements in the language of a national minority within its community, as well as public and cultural events to be held in a minority language.

The law does not apply to the Russian language. Minority languages primarily refers to Romanian and Hungarian, which are spoken in some communities in western Ukraine.

The issue of national minorities has put Kyiv at odds with EU members Romania and Hungary in the past.

Budapest in particular has repeatedly accused Kyiv of oppressing the rights of Hungarian minorities that live in Ukraine.

In a diplomatic row that has gone on for years, Budapest has called Kyiv’s language policies discriminatory and even threatened to block Ukraine’s EU aspirations over the issue.

The 2001 Ukrainian census reported that around 150,000 Hungarians lived in Ukraine, though today this number is thought to be no higher than 80,000.