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Criticisms about circumventing democracy are especially sharp this year in the context of the Arab revolutions. Moreover, the cost to the Swiss taxpayer is being kept secret. The Federal Council answered that it was not part of its role "to pass judgment on information policy carried out in relation to private manifestations."
Much more exclusive than Davos
This exclusive version of the Davos World Economic Forum has already been held twice in Switzerland. It is organized by a steering committee of about 20 people, which now includes Josef Ackermann, CEO of Deutsche Bank, and Daniel Vasella, CEO of Novartis. Experts are invited along with the guests. Each participant has a limited speaking time, and the debates are graded to guarantee their quality. Another tacit condition is a command of the English language.
In the past few years, the mystery surrounding the Bilderberg group has faded slightly because of interest from journalists. Despite the confidentiality protecting it, the group publishes its discussion themes and the names of participants after the meeting online at www.bilderbergmeetings.org. But the defenders of the conspiracy theory who keep denouncing the "Illuminati" are still active.
"This conspiracy spirit is also due to an official authority crisis. It is no longer confined to the myth of the Jewish conspiracy, but it now touches all population categories", says Bruno Fay, journalist and author of a book on the "plot-cracy" who met the current Bilderberg director, the Belgian Etienne Davignon. Rather than making decisions, the Bilderberg meetings are a way to sound out opinions on current affairs, some say. "And the members are also asked to identify rising personalities in their country."
Another custom evoked is the invitation of the President of the host country. The communication services of the president of the confederation say that "Micheline Calmy-Rey will not participate in the Bilderberg meeting which will take place next week in St. Moritz." For their part, the young socialists will be present behind the scenes of the meeting. For several weeks, they have called for a demonstration on June 11, in the main square of St. Moritz, to sign a manifesto in favor of greater democracy. Lukas Horrer, president of the Social Democratic Party's youth organization Grison Jusos, explains: "We don't agree with the conspiracy theory. We just want to remind people that democracy has to prevail in the economic world."
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