Written Answers. - Bilderberg Conference.

Colm M. Hilliard


35 Mr. Hilliard asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the Bilderberg conference. [8277/96]

I understand that the Bilderberg Group was formed in 1954, at the Hotel de Bilderberg in the Netherlands, to provide a forum for informal, off the record discussions on political, economic and military issues of mutual concern between politicians, scholars, businessmen and trade union leaders from Europe and North America. It organises an annual conference which takes place in a different country each year. In recent years the conference has taken place in Switzerland, Finland and Greece, and this year's conference will take place in Canada.

The Bilderberg Group has no formal structure or developed organisation and invitations to the annual conference are issued by the chairman, whom I understand is currently the former British Foreign Secretary and EU envoy to former Yugoslavia, Lord Carrington. The chairman is advised by a steering committee and an advisory group which is drawn from approximately 20 western countries, including representatives from countries that are members and countries that are non-members of military alliances. I understand that the meetings are off the record and informal.
Conferences such as Bilderberg no doubt provide the participants with useful opportunities to meet and discuss a range of current issues on an informal basis. Not having attended the conference myself, I am not in a position to comment further.