A draft statement expected to be issued at an upcoming EU-Ukraine summit will express Brussels’ continued recognition of Ukraine’s European aspirations while dropping criticism of the country’s education law.
The statement, a copy of which was seen by RFE/RL, was approved by EU ambassadors on June 13 and subsequently sent to Kyiv for further remarks.
It says that “we acknowledged the European aspirations of Ukraine and welcomed its European choice, as stated in the association agreement.”
The same sentence was present in the final communique of last year’s EU-Ukraine summit but some EU member states, including France, Germany and the Netherlands, have recently been reluctant to commit to such positive language regarding future EU enlargement — most notably in the statement celebrating the 10th anniversary of the bloc’s Eastern Partnership in May 2019, where acknowledgment of the European aspirations of the bloc’s eastern neighbors was omitted.
In previous EU-Ukraine summit statements there have also been remarks about Ukraine’s 2017 education law, pushed mainly by Hungary, which believes that the law restricts the right of Ukraine’s ethnic Hungarian minority to be educated in their native language.
Kyiv maintains the law is meant to ensure that all Ukrainian citizens can speak the state’s official language, and it denies that the law is discriminatory.
During the negotiations with fellow EU member states, Hungary welcomed the new Ukrainian administration’s promise to look into certain aspects of the education law and agreed not to mention the issue in the statement, according to sources speaking on condition of anonymity.