No minutes will be taken. No reporters will be allowed in. There will be no opening press conference, no closing statement, and participants will be asked not to quote each other.
Welcome to the 64th Bilderberg Conference.
Rich and powerful bankers, prime ministers and former heads of the CIA and MI6 are about to join other members of the global elite for arguably the world’s most high-powered but secretive annual meeting which this year is being held in Dresden.
By their own admission, those organising the Bilderberg meetings have “never sought any public attention”, while always denying conspiracy theories that they are a global ruling class that can start wars and decide who becomes the next US President. They just refer to it as forum for informal discussions about the world’s “megatrends” and a chance for participants to “reflect and gather insights”.
The Bilderberg organisers have, though, just released a list those who will be present from June 9-12 for a three-day meeting chaired by a French count (and chairman of the global insurance giant AXA), who likes to spend his weekends at his castle in Anjou.
Among 126 participants discussing an agenda that – we are also told – will include China, Europe, migration, the Middle East, Russia and the “geo-politics of energy and commodity prices”, will be Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and Jose Manuel Barroso, the former president of the European Commission.
Unlike last year, British Chancellor George Osborne will not be present. Although Michael O’Leary, the controversial CEO of Ryanair will.
It might also be worth paying attention to the future fortunes of attendees who seem obscure. Bill Clinton was a conference attendee in 1991, as a mere governor of Arkansas, a year before he was elected US President. Tony Blair was only a shadow minister when he got his invitation – (you can’t apply to attend, you must be invited) – in 1993. Conference organisers have previously insisted there is no conspiracy to crowbar their chosen people into top jobs, they just have excellent talent spotters.
But for now, the more eye-catching Bilderberg attendees due to be rubbing shoulders with senior representatives of Deutsche Bank, the European Central Bank and Lazard – as well as oil giants Shell and BP – will be:
Henri de Castries
Sir John Sawers
James A Johnson