Valér Palkovits named Hungary’s new consul general in Toronto

Thirty-five year old Valér Palkovits has been named Hungary’s new Consul General in Toronto, replacing Stefánia Szabó this summer. (Yesterday, we reported that Ferenc Kumin will become Hungary’s new ambassador in Ottawa.) Mr. Palkovits previously served as Deputy Head of Mission at Hungary’s embassy in Riga (Latvia) and prior to this, in 2007, he worked for the State Secretary for EU affairs, focusing specifically on European integration issues. This is the office that prepared the way for Hungary’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2011–a presidency that Mr. Palkovits noted as having been a “clear success.”

Valér Palkovits

In an interview published in 2013 in a rural publication entitled Kisalföld, Mr. Palkovits emphasized that in his understanding, diplomatic work is a professional career, rather than a political one. He explained: “We are civil servants just like those who work here at home, in public administration. It is true, however, that a diplomat may be recalled at any time. But according to general practice, professionals and career diplomats need not be influenced by a change in government.” Mr. Palkovits was speaking in 2013, shortly before the spring 2014 national elections, in which Fidesz won a second consecutive term. We also know that in practice the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was turned on its head, first under Tibor Navracsics’s brief tenure and then under Péter Szijjártó. The ministry’s cadre of diplomats bears no resemblance today to its state prior to 2014 and even less to how it looked before 2010.

We learn a few more things about Mr. Palkovits. He lived in Berlin as a young man and gained some professional experience here at the launch of his career. He speaks very fondly of the German capital. We also learn that he seems to be especially comfortable with the mostly reserved, but polite culture of northern countries, which is what he said he experienced in Latvia as well.

In Toronto, Mr. Palkovits will stumble upon a more diverse reality, though it is certainly true that Canadian political culture, and the civil service, is markedly more gracious, even genteel, than that in Hungary.

6 Comments

  1. The difference between Hungary’s and Canada’s foreign service rules is not one of manners or gentility. Mr. Palkovits’s predecessor was not an aggressive ruffian, nor was Bálint Ódor. They knew how to behave. The difference between the two country’s diplomatic services is, that in Canada, the strict norms of professionalism are applied throughout. The entire system is based on civil service exams. The Canadian Ambassador to Hungary would be fired by a Liberal PM, if he called the Canadian Conservative Party leader a traitor. In Hungary, such behavior is encouraged with a promotion and a pay raise.

    Hungary’s system is thoroughly politicised. It is loyalty to the ruling political party, and specifically to the PM, that will get you free housing in comfortable, far away places, with a big expense account, a good salary and free education for the kids in schools that are far better than in Hungary. Right Mr. Ódor ? Right Madame Szabó ? Loyalty to the values of justice, the rule of law or fairness are as relevant in the Hungarian diplomatic service as tits on a bull.

    • “The difference between the two country’s diplomatic services is, that in Canada, the strict norms of professionalism are applied throughout. The entire system is based on civil service exams.”

      I have been to many countries (Sent on delegation by leaders of the Fidesz troll farm, to learn about the world), met and talked to many people, on three continents. Canada is the only place where I met someone who confided in me that they were flown over for a job interview in Toronto (for a high position), where after the interview they were told that even though they are very impressed, they will hire a candidate who is connected high-up instead. In other words, the interview process was just for show and the candidate was told as much, which I never heard happen anywhere. This is the most absurd example, but from what I have been hearing, government jobs in Canada are overwhelmingly filled based on being connected to the right people. If that pool of people is not “diverse” enough, then they pick some visible minority candidates out of the crowd of candidates. So in conclusion almost no government jobs in Canada are filled on merit. Some exceptions such as border agents, where I heard there is actually some merit-based, but other than that, not so much.

  2. Are soccer and hunting among the young diplomat’s skills? If so, we know that he’s part of the Szijjarto youth club or the Semjen Trophy Hunters’ Society.

  3. @ Peter

    “I have been to many countries”

    Doesn’t seem to have had much impact on you, troll. You are still as blind as a bat to infringements of the rules of justice, constitutionalism and sustainable economic development.

    • Yeah! I have to agree. Down here on the “Fidesz troll farm” brainwashing has been perfected down to an art. No amount of exposure to different views, opposing facts, will ever get the brainwashing out of me or my comrades. Unlike the enlightened Western masses, and even those who think of themselves as “intellectual elites”, who can always move past their current indoctrination and question their judgments and values when faced with evidence that is contrary to their beliefs and change their views accordingly, us Fidesz trolls cannot do that. Its a lost cause!

  4. @ Peter

    You are not only ignorant but boring. Why don’t you pick up a copy of “Trolls for Dummies” at your corner store.

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