A draft bill was published on the official website of the Verkhovna Rada on June 28, proposing the official recognition of English as one of Ukraine’s languages for international communication.
President Volodymyr Zelensky is the initiator of the draft law, known as No. 9432. The proposed document aims to specify the positions that require English proficiency. These positions include civil service employees, tax and customs authorities, police officers, high-ranking officials in law enforcement agencies, civil protection services, prosecutors, heads of public sector business entities, and military officers serving under a contract.
The requirement for English proficiency may also be applicable to candidates for positions in local self-government bodies that involve international cooperation responsibilities.
The draft law emphasizes the need to standardize the use of English in the functioning of state and local authorities, local self-government bodies, and emergency services for the public. It also highlights its importance in areas such as education, culture, transportation, and healthcare, including when crossing the national border.
Certain positions will require candidates to pass an English proficiency exam, while others will need to provide a certificate demonstrating their level of English proficiency. The draft law suggests an additional 10 percent salary payment for officials who meet a certain level of foreign language proficiency.
The bill has been under preparation since June 17, as announced by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. The government aims to develop solutions that make English learning more accessible to the general population.
However, lawyer Andrii Smoly analyzed the bill of President Zelensky and noted that, in his opinion, the law de-facto narrows the use of the Ukrainian language in Ukraine.
As an example, he cites paragraph 4 of article 9 — “foreign films are shown in cinemas in English with Ukrainian subtitles.”
“That is, de-facto Ukrainian dubbing will simply disappear from cinemas from 2027. Why can’t you make Sessions in English in parallel?” Smoly wrote in his official Telegram channel.
In addition, Smoly stressed that according to the transitional provisions, the draft law is being amended so that films or programs can also be broadcast in English on television — at the expense of the state language.
“We have already approved the state language, especially on television, in order to ‘replace’ it with another one? There are a lot of other opportunities to establish knowledge of English, but not at the expense of Ukrainian, which has just begun its path of formation,” Smoly summed up.
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