Journalists love the Bilderberg group because it has an air of secrecy and conspiracy. In fact, rather than anything very substantial, it seems to be largely a vanity project – people who think themselves very important gathering in an air of secrecy and conspiracy. Last week in the Commission’s press room there were questions about the possible attendance of José Manuel Barroso.
Barroso was not there at the June 3-6 meeting in Sitges, Spain. Three of his colleagues were however: Joaquín Almunia, Karel de Gucht and Neelie Kroes. At least that is what the Bilderberg website says – the group is getting a little less secretive it seems.
For all the secrecy and conspiracy (and public expense of getting the Spanish police out to guard the venue, though apparently Bilderberg refunds any such costs incurred), judging from the list of participants, Bilderberg seems to be a gathering of rather second division VIPs. Almunia, de Gucht and Kroes got to rub shoulders with a number of company CEOs, some journalists, and luminaries such as premier of British Columbia Gordon Campbell, president of Austria Heinz Fischer and Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou. Er, isn’t rubbing shoulders with these people what the Commissioners do every day anyway? Admittedly there were more important attendees, such as Bill Gates and famous war criminal (according to Christopher Hitchens) Henry Kissenger. Spanish PM Zapatero was there as well.
And of course Bilderberg is chaired by former EU Commissioner and the man who allegedly secretly runs Belgium, Etienne Davignon.
Bilderberg justifies its secrecy by stating that participants all attend in a personal capacity and it is therefore not a public event. So no doubt the Commissioners that attended all did so on unpaid days off, and travelled and accommodated themselves for the event at their own expense.