Splash! Could that be the sound of Lord Mandelson hitting one of the
hotel's four pools? Or Robert Zoellick of the World Bank? Paul Volcker
the US Economic Recovery Advisory Board? Or merely the euro taking
That is the thing about the Bilderberg group's top secret meetings: you
know quite what is going on behind the police checkpoints.
Across the world, secretaries to the rich and the powerful have blocked
the next three days in their bosses' calendars for their annual
this time at the Dolce in Sitges, one of Spain's most exclusive resorts.
Normally, every minute of their working lives is accounted for but, each
a couple of hundred of the world's financial elite and the more
business-friendly members of the political class disappear from view;
supposedly to save the planet from the dangers of parochialism, the
It is all terribly confidential - breathe a word about it and you're out
the club - but the Bilderberg watcher Daniel Estulin claims to have a
of the agenda. The big question this time around is whether the euro
survive. "They are afraid that the countries in trouble will leave and
euro will fall apart," said Mr Estulin. "The biggest nightmare is if EU
members return to nationally orientated policies."
That would certainly explain why the keynote address is being given by
Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister. The Piigs -
the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain - are of concern to the
Bilderbergers. After all, the club was set up in 1954 by a Polish exile,
Joseph Retinger, to create a European bulwark against the spread of
communism. It provided the germ of the European idea; Franco-German
reconciliation, the entry of West Germany into Nato, the Maastricht
all were cooked up in annual fireside chats.
Now, according to Mr Estulin's information, the Bilderbergers are
the erosion of the euro could nudge the world back into recession while
public services cuts could trigger unrest and radicalise the political
Plenty to talk about at the Dolce, then. The Bilderberg protesters, sure
they can smell a good oldfashioned capitalist conspiracy, will be
fringe meetings in the town. The hunt will be on to find a chambermaid
to ransack hotel litter bins for evidence that evil work is afoot. It
been easier to get nuggets of information out of Bilderberg since hotel
staff started to read Dan Brown and talk about the illuminati.
Could it be, though, that the Bilderbergers are simply having fun, away
their spouses, on their annual jamboree? The secret of Bilderberg could
that there is no secret. Certainly, the hotel offers plenty of
for stressed CEOs: qi-gong courses, excellent fish, fine wines and
Henry Kissinger, 87, the former US Secretary of State, and David
95, the former chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank, are the elder
of Bilderberg - but the leaked invitation list reveals that the
made up primarily of elderly white gents.
Remember Richard Perle, 68, George Bush's erstwhile Prince of Darkness?
could perhaps form a Prince of Darkness sub-group with Lord Mandelson.
Wolfowitz, 66, formerly of the World Bank? Mario Monti, 67, EU
for the single market between 1995 and 1999?
Only the possible attendance of George Osborne, 39, the British
will reassure hotel staff that they are not dealing with a Saga Holidays
tour. Other members of this clandestine coven include Queen Sofia of
and Queen Beatrix of Holland. No doubt their views will be sought on the
Swedish royal wedding later this month. Is it right, for example, that a
young princess should marry her personal trainer? Fortunately, the Dolce
a team of personal trainers on hand ready to chip into the debate.
Last year Bilderberg held its meeting at the Nafsika Astir Palace hotel
Greece and apparently failed to spot how close their host country was to
melting down. Watch out, Spain!
The weather forecast is for three days of sunshine - time for the
Bilderbergers to slink out of the shadows.