President of the Committee for foreign affairs of the Deputies’ Chamber and deputy of the UDMR (the Union of Democratic Hungarians in Romania) Biro Rozalia on Thursday stated that Romania needs to maintain a permanent dialogue with Ukraine on the modification of the article of the education law restraining the rights of national minorities to learn in school in their mother tongue.
“Our stand and mine, as the President of the Committee, is that we need to make this dialogue, by which we, as a state, are using all the possible legal means to determine Ukraine to change article 7, permanent. So that the article returns to its initial version, as mentioned by the law on the basis of the linguistic state politics, which guarantee the right to education in mother tongue – with the obligation to also learnt the language of the state, obviously – at all levels, pre-school, primary, gymnasium, high school, vocational and university. This is how it was and this is how we want to be again,” Biro Rozalia told a press conference.
The deputy specified that he had a recent meeting with the Ukrainian Ambassador in Bucharest, during which the latter confirmed her the fact that the Ukrainian Parliament is currently discussing a series of bills regarding the strengthening of the national Ukrainian identity: a draft law on using the state language, another on the modification of the organization of the churches and cults and another regarding the modification of the citizenship law.
The deputy explained that this is about a protocol of the mixed Romanian-Ukrainian inter-governmental committee for the protection of persons belonging to national minorities, recently initiated in Kiev, for a bilateral cooperation in the field of education. The protocol is currently in the negotiation stage and mainly refers to the training of teachers who teach Ukrainian language in Romania and those who teach Romanian language in Ukraine. This protocol, in the deputy’s opinion, “won’t change anything, in the sense of helping us out of this deadlock.”
On September 5 2017, there was adopted the Education Law in Ukraine, on September 25 President Poroshenko promulgated it and on September 28 it entered into force. On September 20, the foreign affairs committee of the Deputies’ Chamber initiated a statement of the Romanian Parliament asking the MPs in the Supreme Rada to revise article 7 which is limiting the rights of the national minorities to learn in school in their mother tongue, but to no effect. The Venice Committee established that this was a restriction of the rights of the national minorities and the article must be modified. Ukraine’s answer, however, as a bill on the Parliament’s table, stipulates the postponing of the implementation of the law from 2020 to 2023.
“Which, again, doesn’t solve anything. For this is just a delay. The new education law contradicts the law on the basis of linguistic state politics, from 2012, is unconstitutional (in three articles) and doesn’t observe the international treaties,” specified Biro, according to Agerpres.
According to the data presented by Biro Rozalia, in the Cernauti region, there are 20 schools with teaching in Romanian language, with a total number of pupils in the 2016-2017 school year of 3,861. According to the census of 2001, Biro said, there are 181,780 Romanians living in the Cernauti region, 32,000 living in the Transcarpatica region, 124,000 in the Odessa region and 3,000 in the Kiev region.