Ukraine’s Parliament approves minorities bill, seen as key for EU talks


The Ukrainian Parliament has approved three bills necessary to start European Union accession talks, including one on national minorities’ rights, a critical demand from Hungary – which opposes Ukraine’s EU bid – officials said.

Lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelezniak said on Telegram messenger that MPs voted in the final reading for the bill regarding minorities’ rights on December 8, taking into consideration the expert assessment of the European Council.

Budapest has clashed with Kyiv over what it says are curbs on the rights of ethnic Hungarians in Western Ukraine, in particular regarding education.

The other two bills adopted concern staff increases in the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and additional power for the National Agency on Corruption Prevention on assets checks.

“Just now Ukrainian parliament passed three out of four laws by constitutional majority identified by the European Commission as leftovers in the EU Enlargement report,” Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna said on X.

She added that a fourth requirement – a law on lobbying – was approved by the Cabinet on December 5.

The 27 national EU leaders are due to decide next week on whether to accept the European Commission’s recommendation to invite Kyiv to begin membership talks.

Any such decision requires unanimous support. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has repeatedly said his country would not support the EC’s proposal in its present form.