The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the adoption of the Law on National Minorities in Ukraine without taking into account Romania’s requirements and the recommendations of the Venice Commission is “regrettable”. The position was transmitted by Minister Bogdan Aurescu to his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitro Kuleba, along with a list of provisions that the Romanian side says “can have a negative impact, by reference to European standards.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski had promised, in the teleconference speech in the Romanian Parliament, that he would start discussions for the protection of the Romanian minority in Ukraine.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds that, in the Opinion formulated on June 17, 2022 regarding Ukraine’s application for accession to the European Union, the European Commission indicated, among the steps that must be completed, the completion of the reform of the legislative framework regarding the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, according to the recommendations of the Commission of in Venice, and the immediate adoption of effective implementation mechanisms,” said a press release.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers it regrettable that the law was adopted in the absence of a new consultation of the Venice Commission whose opinion would certainly have contributed to ensuring a comprehensive and clear text from the perspective of European legal standards in the matter, including by checking the way where its previous recommendations are reflected in the normative text. It is also regrettable that the law was adopted in the absence of an adequate consultation of the representatives of the Romanian community in Ukraine, as requested by the Romanian side,” the statement added.
The MFA asks the Ukrainian authorities to consult the Venice Commission even at this stage and fully implement its recommendations, given that the law provides for a six-month deadline for its entry into force.
“Romania fully supports Ukraine’s European path and understands the natural desire to accelerate the process of getting closer to the EU, but signals the fact that the untimely acceleration of the legislative process in this field significantly affected the consultation process with the representatives of national minorities, which should have been one of substance, prior to the adoption of the law. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes that it has repeatedly requested the Ukrainian side to thoroughly consult the Romanian community in Ukraine in the process of drafting and adopting the law”, according to the statement. The MAE says the law represents “an improved version” compared to previous drafts.
“Thus, improvements can be considered: maintaining the reference in the preambular part of the law to the European reference instruments in the matter, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter of Regional or Minority Languages, as well as to other international treaties ratified by Ukraine, as basis for shaping policies on national minorities; the express mention of the priority of international treaties to which Ukraine is a party over the law in question; the express emphasis on preventing the assimilation of persons belonging to national minorities as a principle on which Ukraine’s policy in the field is based; clarifying the text of the article on the prohibition of discrimination, in the sense that the new text no longer induces the perception of a possible prohibition of positive discrimination, which is of the essence of policies in terms of promoting and protecting the rights of persons belonging to national minorities; maintaining the provision regarding the state’s promotion and support of the study of the history and culture of national minorities”, the statement reads.