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Neelie Kroes: blogging Bilderberg

May 30, 2013

     :: PRESS RELEASE ::


Neelie Kroes is a Vice-President of the European Commission, and has long been a champion of openness in politics. She is at the forefront of what she calls “the open data revolution.” In her capacity as an EU Commissioner she has attended the influential Bilderberg conference eight times, but she has so far refrained from speaking publicly about this important policy summit.

Commissioner Kroes is attending the 2013 Bilderberg conference, at the Grove Hotel, Watford, from June 6-9.

TechnocracyWatch is urging Kroes to live up to her many statements about the benefits of transparency. Kroes is a prolific blogger – so this year, TechnocracyWatch is calling on EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes to blog from Bilderberg.

A Commissioner for the transparent generation

“Openness and tolerance, hard work and trusting others are my values.”
    Neelie Kroes, 2012

Neelie Kroes is Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda. She has long been a champion of openness and transparency, particularly in the digital realm. When the internet activist Aaron Swartz died, back in January 2013, Kroes was full of praise for his commitment to a more transparent society. On her official European Commission blog she wrote:

“This was a man who saw that greater openness can be good for citizens, and good for society. Hugely disruptive – but hugely beneficial.”

It may be difficult for our social and political institutions to come to terms with greater openness, but doing so is “hugely beneficial” for us all. As Kroes said: “Aaron could see the open direction we’re heading in, and its benefits.”

Blogging from the World Economic Forum in Davos at around the same time, Kroes wrote:

“I was impressed also by the speech of Christine Lagarde about why we have to value the new generation and what they bring to improve our world: openness, inclusion and accountability. This is the transparent generation and that is what the world needs right now.”

Kroes is a prolific blogger, and yet somehow she hasn’t quite managed a single blog post from any of the Bilderberg conferences she’s attended. In spite of the fact that on each occasion she was there for three days, holding policy discussions with fellow politicians, influential economists, corporate executives, billionaire venture capitalists and royalty. Not a word to the public about what was said. Openness is dear to Neelie Kroes’ heart – that much is clear – but when it comes to Bilderberg, that commitment to openness is somewhat harder to discern.

Neelie Kroes arriving at the 2012 Bilderberg conference, in Chantilly, Virginia

Neelie Kroes arriving at the 2012 Bilderberg conference, in Chantilly, Virginia (photo: We are Change, Rhode Island)

Business background

Kroes joined the EU Commission in 2004. According to the BBC: “At the time, the former Dutch transport minister was on the board of 12 companies, including Volvo and the French defence group Thales. She had also worked as a lobbyist for Lockheed-Martin.” So Kroes will well understand the value of Bilderberg as an intense and extended lobbying opportunity for the bank bosses and corporate leaders present.

Her official EU Biographical Sketch gives a long list of her previous business interests – which includes being on the Supervisory Board of McDonald’s, the Advisory Board of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and the Supervisory Board of New Skies Satellites.

Kroes at Bilderberg

Neelie Kroes has attended eight Bilderberg conferences to date, every year since 2005. And she hasn’t made a single public statement about these meetings.

At Bilderberg, Kroes spends three days pushing in “the open direction” behind closed doors – with the Executive Chairman of Google, the Chairman of HSBC, the President of Siemens, the Chairman of Nestlé, the CEO of Telecom Italia, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, the Chairman of Nokia, the Group Chief Executive of BP, the President of the World Bank, the President of the European Central Bank, and the Director-General of the World Trade Organization. And a hundred more of the most powerful people in business, banking, high tech, high finance and government.

Bilderberg is not short of politicians. At the 2012 conference in Chantilly, Kroes spent three days – meeting in private – with two other European Commissioners (Joaquín Almunia and Karel de Gucht) and the following elected public servants (showing their office at the time):

    John Kerry (US: Senator for Massachusetts)
    Kenneth Clarke (Britain: Member of Parliament, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of Justice)
    Alison Redford (Canada: Premier of Alberta)
    Mark Rutte (Holland: Prime Minister)
    Jürgen Trittin (Germany: Parliamentary Leader, Alliance 90/The Greens)
    Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (Spain: Vice President and Minister for the Presidency)
    Jutta Urpilainen (Finland: Minister of Finance)
    Christophe Béchu (France: Senator, and Chairman, General Council of Maine-et-Loire)
    Nick Boles (Britain: Member of Parliament)
    Michael Noonan (Ireland: Minister for Finance)
    Enrico Letta (Italy: Deputy Leader, Democratic Party)
    Alexander Pechtold (Holland: Parliamentary Leader, Democrats ’66)
    Jacek Rostowski (Poland: Minister of Finance)
    Jorge Moreira da Silva (Portugal: First Vice-President, Partido Social Democrata)
    Ali Babacan (Turkey: Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Financial Affairs)
    Mitchell Daniels, Jr. (US: Governor of Indiana)

This private policy summit – heaving with corporate executives and packed with politicians – is the very opposite of “transparency in government”. Openness may be a “core European value” – and the leading value in her personal life – but when it comes to Bilderberg, it’s not a value that Neelie Kroes manages to exhibit. This year though, that could change.

TechnocracyWatch is calling for European Commissioner Neelie Kroes to blog from the 2013 Bilderberg conference in Watford.

Check her blog for updates.