The Government Spokesperson was on a three-day visit to Canada, where he held talks on Hungary’s main economic goals and the challenges facing the European Union. He reported on his program, which ended on Wednesday evening, in a telephone statement to Hungarian news agency MTI from Toronto.

In the Canadian capital Ottawa, and in Toronto, the centre of Canadian business life, he met with Members of Parliament, influential businesspeople, the directors of research institutes and opinion formers, Mr. Kovács told the press.

In Ottawa’s Global Affairs Institute, he held discussions with the Institute’s leading officials on Hungary’s role in Europe and its situation within the European Union. His negotiating partners included strategy expert, university professor and former diplomat Ferry de Kerckhove, Alberta politician and Conservative Party MP Garnett Genuis, and the Cardus Institute’s Program Director for Law Andrew Bennett.

“Ferry de Kerckhove has an excellent knowledge of both European politics and Hungary, and on this occasion he was primarily interested in the results and achievements of the Hungarian economy, as was Conservative MP Garnett Genuis”, the Government Spokesperson told MTI. Andrew Bennett, who as one of the Program Directors of the Cardus Institute, which is primarily concerned with religious issues and religious freedom, is also involved in closely monitoring the fate of Middle Eastern Christians, asked Mr. Kovács to report on the Hungarian Government’s related efforts. The Government Spokesperson provided Mr. Bennett with a detailed briefing on the Hungarian Governments’ unique humanitarian initiative, the Hungary Helps programme, which provides targeted assistance to persecuted Middle Eastern Christians in the land of their birth, thus also contributing to reducing the migration pressure on Europe.

Mr. Kovács met with head of the Canadian Federation of the Chabad Lubavics movement Rabbi Chaim Mendelsohn. In addition to being an active Hasidic Jewish community, the movement also performs social and charity activities worldwide. At a gala dinner in Ottawa, the Hungarian Government Spokesperson also held discussions with Rabbi Moshe Rothman-Tas, who has Hungarian roots.

On the subject of his meetings in Toronto, Mr. Kovács told MTI that following talks at the C.D. Howe institute, which deals in political research, and meetings with regional Conservative MPs, he held a lecture, including what he described as a “scintillating debate”, at the University of Toronto, which is regarded as an institute of higher education with one of North America’s strongest research and professorial faculties. In reply to a question from MTI, the Government Spokesperson explained that the heated debate had developed as a result of articles that had appeared in the Canadian press, portraying a somewhat negative image of Hungary. When asked to what extent he had succeeded in convincing the students, Mr. Kovács said: “When the moderator closed the lecture and the debate, he declared that my arguments had been stronger and more convincing than theirs”.

Mr. Kovács said he was satisfied with his negotiations in Canada. In the statement to MTI, he stressed that businessmen and political decision-makers know Hungary, and do not rely on the sometimes far from balanced image of Hungary that appears in the press.

The Government Spokesperson described his meeting with members of Toronto’s Hungarian community, including founder of the famous Linamar Corporation Tibor Kókai and President of the Rákóczi Foundation Zsuzsanna Ayklerné Papp, as important.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister)