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Romanian PM: Ukraine recognizes 'non-existence of Moldovan language'

by Martin Fornusek October 18, 2023 7:04 PM 3 min read
Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu (L) and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal (R) during a joint press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Oct. 18, 2023. (Denys Shmyhal/Telegram)
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Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said that the Ukrainian government decided to abandon using the phrasing "Moldovan language" to refer to the language spoken by Moldovans, European Pravda reported on Oct. 18.

Speaking at a press conference in Kyiv, Ciolacu thanked his Ukrainian counterpart Denys Shmyhal for "the openness he showed in efforts to recognize the non-existence of the so-called Moldovan language."

"From now on, there is only one official language at the international level - the Romanian language," he added.

Ciolacu said that the measure was adopted in the context of Ukraine's accession to the EU, namely with respect to fulfilling the European Commission's recommendation on the national minorities' rights reforms, Romanian media reported.

Shmyhal did not comment on the adoption of the measure during the press conference.

A joint statement by the two prime ministers, published on a Ukrainian government website, read that "the Romanian side welcomes the decision made today by the Government of Ukraine to urgently resolve the issue of artificial separation between the Romanian and 'Moldovan' languages ​​by implementing relevant practical measures with due consideration of all legal aspects."

Shmyhal's spokesperson did not elaborate for the Kyiv Independent on the exact measures that are to be implemented. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The concept of the "Moldovan language" was established during Soviet times and, in practice, denoted the Cyrilic-script version of the Romanian language. Moldova was one of the republics of the Soviet Union.

Following the breakup of the USSR, the Moldovan independence declaration from 1991 named Romanian as the country's official language, while the 1994 constitution referred to the "Moldovan language." The country's President Maia Sandu signed a law in March establishing the Romanian tongue as the country's official language.

The legislation of Ukraine, home to sizable Romanian and Moldovan minorities, continues to recognize the existence of the "Moldovan language," causing tensions with Romania, as Bucharest does not recognize the language's existence.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky told Romanian journalists during his visit to Bucharest last week that the issue of the "Moldovan language" is not a priority during wartime.

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