Question to the Commission on the extremist marches in Ukraine

2017. 06. 30.

Ten Hungarian MEPs of the EPP, including Kinga Gál, submitted a written question to the Commission on the anti-Hungarian and anti-EU extremist march taken at Uzhorod, Ukraine. The question and Commissioner Vice President Federica Mogherini’s reply are as below.



Subject:  VP/HR — Extremist marches in Ukraine

On 18 March 2017, the extreme right-wing unit ‘Karpatska Sich’ organised a torchlight procession, similar to last year’s, which spread terror, in Uzhorod, Ukraine, during which demonstrators marched through the town chanting anti-Hungarian and anti-EU slogans. The leader of the extreme right-wing organisation acknowledged in the media that the aim of the march was to reject the European Union and to Ukrainise ethnic Hungarians living in the countryside.

It is shocking that, in a town whose population partly consists of ethnic Hungarians, nationalist units are again marching, with slogans and behaviour injurious to non-Ukrainian people living in the region, and that a country which claims to aspire to join the EU is allowing scope for chauvinist organisations to gain in strength and express themselves in an uncontrolled manner, while moreover the forces of law and order regularly turn a blind eye to this.

After last year’s extremist nationalist march on 13 March 2016, I already drew the attention of the Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to that event, which was intended to disrupt calm and which was contrary to fundamental points in the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (cf. Written Question E-002408/2016). Federica Mogherini’s answer concerning last year’s event was that the issue would be followed up in the context of the EU-Ukraine Human Rights Dialogue and that any similar breaches of the law would be monitored carefully.

What practical steps has the VP/HR taken with regard to the above event?

Is it permissible for extremist paramilitary units to march in a country which claims to aspire to join the EU, organising a rally which spreads terror? If not, what will the Vice-President/High Representative do this time?


Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the Commission

As already stated in the reply to Written Question E-002408/2016, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including rights of persons belonging to national minorities, are essential elements of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The EU and other international organisations, such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s High Commissioner on National Minorities, closely monitor developments relating to these rights.

Matters relating to the rights of persons belonging to minorities have been a constant topic on the EU-Ukraine agenda over the last year, including at the level of the EU-Ukraine Association Council. At the occasion of his visit to Ukraine on 1 and 2 June 2017 the Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn met with representatives of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine.

The EU also encourages Ukraine to abide by its international commitments regarding the freedom of peaceful assembly. In this regard, it is noteworthy that the march was organised according to local law, meaning that it was authorised by the authorities which had dispatched law enforcement officers ensuring that the march did not turn violent.

The EU delegation in Kyiv has not been approached by members of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine with regard to this latest march.