Tovt M.M. The new basics of language legislation or the foundations of a new statehood?
The study deals with the current issues of language legislation. The author draws the attention to the fact that as a result of the intentions of essential change in the field of language legislation, the language issue of Ukraine is in the limelight on both national and international levels. Order No. 145 (2017) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls for Ukraine to keep the current low threshold for the use of minority languages in case of the abolition of the existing language law. Examining the potential impacts of implementations of the language bills submitted by the representatives of the current authorities, the author formulates the following questions. What is really happening in the field of language rights in Ukraine? What has raised the concerns of prestigious organs of the European democracy? What is the essence of the European concerns? Could the expression of concern by neighboring states and international organizations really be considered as interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine? What could be the consequences of the proposed amendments?
By the description of the chronology and legal nature of the 2016 events and the language bill in comparison with the provisions of the Constitution, the author concludes that the proposed changes are radically transforming the system of language rights in the country. The language bills significantly narrow the rights of national and language minorities, which are contrary to Ukraine’s international obligations. The author emphasizes that the planned changes are contrary to the constitutional guarantees for the use and protection of the languages of national minorities as well. The adoption of the changes requires an amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits the abolition and restriction of human rights. The author also notes that if language rights are amended according to the proposals, the reassessment of numerous multilateral and bilateral international conventions of Ukraine will be required. The study concluded that with a new Constitution and a changed system of international treaties, the new Ukraine will be substantially different from that of today, and it is not certain that the new state will be more democratic and more cooperative with international organizations.
The author finally draws the attention to the fact that the changes proposed in the field of language rights of minorities can fundamentally change the relationship towards national minorities that account for approximately 20% of the population of Ukraine.
Key words: legislation on languages, the rights of national and linguistic minorities.