To this date since 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (KÜM) has distributed 16,952 diplomatic passports, Népszava reported. Although at the moment there are just 7,657 of them in use, it is still considered a high number.
According to the leftist daily’s estimates, Hungary’s foreign affairs staff includes around seven hundred people- this adds to the number of about one thousand workers at foreign delegations. In addition, another thousand is made up of MPs, leading party politicians and leaders of national authorities and bodies and, of course, their relatives who travel with them.
But, as Népszava suggests, there may be hundreds or even thousands whose reason and eligibility for the diplomatic passport might at least be a matter of question. Although thanks to an article in the legislation, basically anyone can get such a travel document upon the decision of the Foreign Minister; in reference to a legislative prohibition KÜM has long refused to disclose terms and persons. What is more, the Ministry appears ready to go even against court orders just to keep data undisclosed.
Over the years, some on the receiving end, whose names already made it to the public, have been matters of controversy. Earlier this year, it has been revealed that Viktor Orbán’s unofficial strategic advisor, Árpád Habony, got one, as did Csaba Tarsoly, the former leader of Quaestor group who is now being tried for criminal conspiracy to commit embezzlement and fraud of an especially large amount.
Holding a diplomatic passport in itself does not accord any specific privileges; however, possessors can travel visa-free in many countries, such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia or Russia.
featured image: illustration; via kormany.hu