President Iohannis communicated on Thursday that he has called off the visit he was supposed to pay in October to Ukraine, on account of the education law being passed, considering that this piece of legislation goes against the mutual good intentions and drastically limits the access of minorities to education in their native language.
"Consequently, upon finding out about this law, I have cancelled my visit to Ukraine and I have also called off the reception of Parliament's Chairman, who had taken an appointment with me for late September, thus conveying extremely powerful diplomatic signals. Calling off a presidential visit is a very strong signal," Iohannis said.
He highlighted that the education law adopted in Ukraine goes against mutual good intentions. "Indeed an unpleasant topic this evolution in Ukraine with the education law. I had a visit scheduled for October this year to Ukraine, a visit that I have prepared in several stages with President Poroshenko. The last round of talks was at the NATO meeting in Brussels. I was very very unpleasantly surprised at the turn of events in Ukraine's Parliament, that, without communicating to its partners, and we are Ukraine's partners, has passed a law that in our opinion, runs counter to our mutual good intentions. As a matter of fact, this law, if passed, will drastically limit the access of minorities to education in their native language. We are deeply hurt by this. We have many Romanians in Ukraine," the head of state affirmed.
Iohannis specified that he and the President of Ukraine were due to visit the Bucovina area, where many Ukrainian Romanians live. "This law comes at the wrong time and the entire approach, as far as I am concerned, needs to be questioned," the head of state added. He mentioned that he has run across President Poroshenko in the NATO hallways and told him what he thinks of the visit cancellation. "We obviously greeted each other and I briefed him on these issues. I told him point blank that I would not pay this visit until progress regarding this education law is made and that I am disagreeably surprised at this evolution, given that he had a very open approach, at least towards me, on the issue of Romanians in Ukraine. I have also communicated my approach through the diplomatic channels and here, directly to President Poroshenko. He walked away rather preoccupied and I hope we manage to have an approach that allows Romanians in Ukraine, in the long run, to carry on their education in the Romanian language," Iohannis concluded.