Human rights of ethnic minorities in Ukraine – the ‘Kaboul moment’ is on the way?
31.08.2021. Balázs Tárnok
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is meeting President Biden in the White House to discuss the possible expansion of strategic cooperation between Ukraine and the United States. Ukraine has the strong support of both the US and the EU to tackle Russian influence in its eastern territories. However, this support must not be unconditional; the ongoing violations of fundamental rights of ethnic minorities in Ukraine must be addressed properly. Will President Biden stand up for human rights of ethnic minorities or will minorities in Ukraine experience an(other) American “withdrawal”?
European Commission: Ukraine must respect the rights of national minorities
22-03-2021 - Balázs Tárnok
Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement confirmed in a letter sent to MEP Andrea Bocskor that the Union is committed to monitoring the respect of human rights, including minority rights, in Ukraine as well. The respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, is a fundamental value of the EU under Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union, and thus, must be respected by Ukraine if it wants to remain a serious negotiating partner of the EU in its accession process.
The European Commission turned its back on national and linguistic minorities
20-01-2021 - Balázs Tárnok
On 15 January 2021, the European Commission published its communication on the Minority SafePack Initiative (MSPI) rejecting the package in its entirety. The Commission decided not to initiate legal acts of the Union with respect to any of the nine proposals of the package. With this decision, the Commission not only ignored the will of more than one million signatories and let down approximately 50 million citizens of the Union who belong to national and linguistic minorities, but also undermined the democracy of the Union by totally discrediting the instrument of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), the only instrument of participatory democracy in the European Union (EU). Instead of bridging the gap between the EU and its citizens, the Commission deepened and widened this gap acting precisely in contrary to the main purpose of the ECI.
Slovakia Still Applying the Beneš Decrees – Principle of Collective Guilt in the European Union
15-07-2020 - Balázs Tárnok
In mid-May, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Slovak State Forest Company wants to unlawfully confiscate privately owned plots of land, referring to the Beneš Decrees. One month later, it was revealed that the Slovak state wants to confiscate plots under the D4 highway, worth millions of Euros, on the basis of the Beneš Decrees. In both cases, the legal basis for the confiscation of property is that the ancestors of the land owners were Hungarians. These cases made it clear that Slovakia still applies the principle of collective guilt, not only humiliating the Hungarian community living in Slovakia but also finding an easier way to obtain valuable lands without paying for them. It is going to be one of the biggest challenges of the Matovič government to address this issue and get back Slovakia on the track of European values.