Zoltán Balog has served as Human Resources Minister since May 12, 2012. Balog, a Reformed Church pastor, was chief advisor at the Office of the Prime Minister during the first Orbán government from 1998 to 2002.
Born in the industrial town of Ózd in northeastern Hungary in 1958. Grew up in the nearby mining village of Nekézseny (population 800), the son of the local Reformed Church pastor. Finished high school in city of Debrecen in eastern Hungary in 1976.
Did not attend university immediately after high school, working at the Diósgyőr Machine Factory in the city of Miskolc in northwestern Hungary from 1976 to 1977.
Studied theology at the Debrecen Reformed Theological Academy and the Budapest Reformed Theological Academy from 1978 to 1983, receiving degree in theology in the latter year. Spent four semesters studying at the Martin Luther University in Halle, East Germany, during this period.
Served as a Reformed Church pastor in several villages near Budapest from 1983 to 1987.
Pursued advanced studies in theology at the University of Tübingen in West Germany from 1987 to 1989.
Taught religion at schools in Budapest, including the Budapest German School, from 1989 to 1996 as well as at the University of Bonn from 1993 to 1996.
Served as German-language Reformed Church pastor in Budapest from 1996 to 2006.
Undertook his first political position as chief advisor to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during the latter’s first period as prime minister from 1998 to 2002.
Following Fidesz’s defeat in the 2002 National Assembly election, Balog served as director the Social Policy Department at the Office of the President under under conservative President Ferenc Mádl from 2002 to 2003.
Has filled the office of director and, subsequently, advisory board president of the Christian-nationalist Alliance for Civil Hungary Foundation since 2003.
Served as state secretary in charge of social inclusion at the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice from Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s return to power in May 2010 until receiving appointment to his current position in May 2012.
Turns 59 years old in 2016.
“It is also important to know that there was no kind of Roma-Gypsy deportation from Hungary, this took place from Austria, therefore they took the Hungarian Gypsies from there and for this reason Hungary is also involved . . .” August 3, 2014, speaking about the Gypsy Holocaust on state-run Kossuth Radio (source in Hungarian).