József Szájer has been a Fidesz Member of the European Parliament since 2004. He previously served as a Fidesz National Assembly representative from 1990 until resigning from this position in 2004 after his election to the European Parliament.
Szájer was one of 37 founding members of Fidesz in 1988.
Born and raised in the city of Sopron (western Hungary, population 61,000), where he graduated from high school in 1980. Attended the Loránd Eötvös University School of Law and Political Sciences, where he received a Ph.D. in 1986.
Studied at University of Oxford, England, in 1986 and 1987 on grant from the Soros Foundation. Was research fellow at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1988 and 1989.
Served as chairman of the Fidesz National Assembly caucus from 1994 to 1997 and again at the time of the first Orbán government from 1998 to 2002.
Was chairman of the committee that drafted the Orbán government’s Fundamental Law that came into effect on January 1, 2012.
Married since 1983 to President Tünde Handó of the National Judicial Office (Országos Bírói Hivatal) established on January 1, 2012 to conduct the administration of Hungary’s justice system. Resigned from all his formal party positions with Fidesz following the foundation of the office in order to avoid the appearance of conflict-of-interest.
“Even Stalin would have given more time in the show trials.” July 2, 2013, during speech at the European Parliament in reference to time limit imposed on MEPs during debate on the Tavares Report regarding the “situation of fundamental rights” in Hungary (source in Hungarian).
“It is necessary to show strength vis-à-vis Russia. There is no doubt about this. We Hungarians have experienced this decades. They understand the language of power. However the European Union does not know how to speak the language of power.” September 2, 2014 (source in Hungarian from 4:19).
“The National Assembly speaker obviously gave careful consideration to his decision, but I don’t particularly like it.” January 18, 2015, speaking to opposition television station ATV in reference to National Assembly Speaker László Kövér‘s decision to prohibit the display of the European Union flag inside the Hungarian Parliament Building session chamber (source in Hungarian).
Last updated: June 27, 2018.