János Martonyi

Martonyi-János_231János Mártonyi served as Foreign Minister in both the first and second Orbán cabinets, from 1998 to 2002 and 2010 to 2014. 

Mártonyi retired in 2014 before the formation of the third Orbán government. 


Born in Kolozsvár (Cluj) in April 1944. The city was then part of Hungary, having become part of the country again with the transfer of northern section of the region of Transylvania to Hungary from Romania via the Second Vienna Award in 1940. (Martonyi does not have Transylvanian roots: his family moved to Kolozsvár following Second Vienna Award so his father could take up a position teaching law at University of Kolozsvár.)

Grew up in the city of Szeged (population 170,000, southern Hungary), where he graduated from high school in 1962. Received a degree in law from Attila József University in Szeged in 1967.

Studied international trade law at the City of London College in 1968 and at The Hague Academy of International Law in The Hague, Netherlands in 1970. Worked as trade attaché at Hungary’s trade office in Brussels from 1979–1984.

Was department chairman at the Ministry of Trade from 1985–1989.

Served as the privatization commissioner for Hungary’s final Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party government under Prime Minister Miklós Németh in 1989-1990. Joined the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party before the System Change in 1990. 

Was state secretary in the Ministry of International Economic Relations and the Foreign Ministry during the Hungarian Democratic Forum-led government, 1990–1994.

Joined Fidesz in 2003 following his first stint as Foreign Minister. 

Notable Quotes

“It is out of the question that with this Hungary is turning toward Russia.” February 5, 2014, referring to the Hungarian-Russian agreement to build two new reactors at the Paks Nuclear Power Plant during a meeting with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany (source in Hungarian). 

Last updated: June 27, 2018.


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