On Monday, 11 December, Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, met with Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, as part of a working visit to Brussels, Belgium. During the meeting, the parties discussed Ukraine’s implementation of the steps set out by the European Commission within the framework of the 2023 Enlargement Package, as well as expectations for the upcoming meeting of the EU leaders to be held on 14-15 December.
Olha Stefanishyna informed her Hungarian counterpart in detail about Ukraine’s implementation of all 7 recommendations of the European Commission, as well as additional steps set out in the enlargement package. In particular, last week the Verkhovna Rada passed important bills to strengthen the institutional capacity and independence of anti-corruption bodies. The parties also discussed in detail the amendments to the sectoral legislation on the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, which were adopted by the Parliament in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission and the results of a broad inclusive dialogue.
“It is extremely important that all adopted legislative amendments were discussed with representatives of national communities and expert circles. For Ukraine, this is a matter of proper implementation of the rights and opportunities for self-realisation of all our citizens. Over the past year, we have completely updated the legal framework for the protection of national minorities in line with high international standards and the needs of national communities, which is a significant step forward compared to the largely declarative and outdated regulations in place before 2015. The framework law and amendments to sectoral legislation have been adopted. We are open to joint work on proper implementation,” the Deputy Prime Minister stressed.
She also noted that representatives of Ukraine’s national minorities, including the Hungarian minority, had confirmed their support for the provisions of the law.
“The unprecedented mobilisation in Ukraine for reforms since the beginning of the full-scale war has become a response to the demand of Ukrainian citizens, with whom we have been moving towards the EU over the past 10 years,” the Deputy Prime Minister stressed.
She recalled that Hungary had always been a supporter of the EU’s enlargement policy, recognising its importance for the stability, development and security of the whole of Europe.
“Today we have a unique opportunity to launch a real enlargement process, to restore confidence and a high momentum to the process for all candidate countries. Ukraine, more than anyone else, is interested in strengthening Europe, so we support the position of some partners on the need to give positive signals to all countries in the enlargement package during the European Council meeting,” Olha Stefanishyna said.
The parties agreed to maintain an ongoing dialogue on all issues of mutual interest.