National Economy Minister Mihály Varga

images-1 2Mihály Varga has served as National Economy Minister since March 2013, assuming the position when György Matolcsy left it to become governor of the National Bank of Hungary. Was Finance Minister for the final year and a half of the first Orbán government from 2001 to 2002.  Has been a Fidesz National Assembly representative since 1990. 


Born and raised in the town of Karcag (population 21,000, east-central Hungary), where he graduated from high school in 1983. Received bachelor’s degree in economics from the Karl Marx University of Economic Sciences in Budapest in 1989.  

Joined Fidesz in 1988, though not one of founding members.    

Was member and chairman of various National Assembly budgetary, auditing, economic and financial committees from 1990 to 2010. 

Served as political state secretary at the Finance Ministry during the first Orbán government from 1998 to 2000 before being appointed finance minister on January 1, 2001 in place of Zsigmond Járai, who left the post to become governor of the National Bank of Hungary.

Was State Secretary in Charge of the Prime Ministry in the second Orbán government from June 2010 to June 2012. Served as Minister without Portfolio in charge of the government’s relations with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union from June 2012 to March 2013.  

Has been Reformed Church elder since 2001.

Turns 51 years old in 2016.

Notable Quotes 

“The government obviously has to prepare for the possibility of more serious sanctions coming into effect against Russia, since 80-90 percent of the gas we use arrives from Russia. Our gas supplies are sufficient for several months, though in spite of this it is still in our fundamental interest that they don’t impose measures against Russia that could exercise a drastic impact on the functioning of the Hungarian economy or would serve to significantly reduce our economic growth.” March 29, 2014 interview in the pro-government daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet (source in Hungarian). 

“Sanction measures are not in our interest, because Hungary would really feel them. Not only do [Hungarian] banks and pharmaceutical-industry companies operate in both Russia and Ukraine, but small- and medium-sized enterprises as well. Thus it is in our interest that a special solution take place. We are trying to induce the resolution of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis so that it doesn’t harm our economic interests.” April 5, 2014, speaking on pro-government EchoTV news channel (source in Hungarian at 19:27). 

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