The Romanian minority in Ukraine is allowed to speak Romanian. This happened after decades of discrimination against the Romanian minority, who were prohibited from using their native language in schools or public institutions. Ukrainian law called their language “Moldavian,” following Russian influence in the region. Russia’s influence has been stopped in Moldova, where the official language has been recognized as Romanian, but until this date, it has been successful in Ukraine.
Now, the Ukrainian Government decided, in the first joint meeting with the Romanian Government, held in Kyiv, that the language of the Romanian minority is Romanian, not Moldavian.
There is no coincidence here. The law was changed right after Ukrania’s President visited Romania and failed to deliver a speech in the Romanian Parliament for fear of protests from the Opposition. Even so, his visit to Romania was disrupted by the protests of one of the Opposition representatives, Senator Diana Sosoaca, who asked, among others, for the Romanian language to be allowed to be spoken in Ukraine by law.
Interestingly enough, Sosoaca is persona non grata on Ukrainian territory, along with the leader of the Nationalist Party AUR. Both MPs are banned from entry into Ukraine for “actions against the Ukrainian state.”
We must mention that the law has not been changed to please the Romanian part or as a sign of gratitude for all the help Romania offered Ukraine during the last two years of war, but only to meet one of the criteria to join the EU. The European Commission asks each candidate state to eliminate discrimination, which is Ukraine’s first step towards this perspective.
Even so, there are still lots of issues to be fixed in the bilateral relationship, and the Romanian PM, Marcel Ciolacu, mentioned he would be pleased for the Romanian priests to be able to preach in Romanian inside the Orthodox churches in Ukraine.
Romania still has many open wounds from Ukraine’s actions; hopefully, some will be healed after the war. Among them is the Bystroye Canal, one of the recent scandals that broke out between the two countries.
In exchange, Romania promised Ukraine to double the grain quantity transiting its harbours, but this is another controversial measure which affects Romanian and European farmers opposing Ukrainian cheap grain entering the EU market.