The Hon. László Kovács

Former European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union


László Kovács is a Hungarian politician and diplomat, and is the current European Commissioner for the Taxation and Customs Union. Born in July 1939 in Budapest, Mr. Kovács attended the Lajos Petrik Vocational School for Chemistry, before going on to study economics at the Karl Marx University of Economics in Budapest between 1963 and 1968. After graduating, Mr. Kovács went on to work in the public sector, with jobs at the Medicolor factory in Budapest and with Kőbánya Pharmaceuticals as a chemical engineer.
In 1963 he became a member of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (MSZMP), and in 1965 he became involved with the Communist Youth Association. He furthered his studies at the Political College of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party.

In 1975 Mr. Kovacs went on to work for the Foreign Affairs Department of MSZMP's Central Committee, becoming the Deputy Director of the Department between 1983 and 1986. In May 1986 he became the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, then from May 1989 he was made State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, a post he held for one year. In April 1989 he became the member of MSZMP's Central Committee. During his year as state secretary, he worked for the Németh-government, in a crucial period that saw the 'Pan-European picnic', where the border between Hungary and Austria was torn down in a act of half political defiance and half experiment. This action allowed many East German refugees to escape the GDR through Hungary and into Austria and West Germany, and was one of the first steps in the process of lifting the Iron Curtain.

After the 1989 Revolution, Mr. Kovacs remained in politics and went on to serve in the Hungarian Socialist Party from 1998 to 2004. He served twice as foreign secretary, firstly between 1994 and 1998, and secondly between 2002 and 2004.

Mr. Kovacs was made responsible for the Taxation and Customs Union on 24th November 2004.

“The Role of Cultural Diplomacy and the Political Culture in Diplomacy”

A Lecture by the Hon. Lásló Kovács, Former Foreign Minister of Hungary
The Annual Conference on Cultural Diplomacy 2013
(Berlin; December 17th - 21st, 2013)