At a conference attended by two prime ministers, the king of the Netherlands, the CEO of Shell and the chairman of Google, one would think a European Union commissioner from Bulgaria would slip by relatively unnoticed. However, Kristalina Georgieva’s appearance at last weekend’s Bilderberg conference caught the eyes of European press, some of whom speculated she was auditioning for the role of head of the United Nations.
The annual Bilderberg conference is a meeting of European and North American elites from business and politics. This year’s conference took place last Thursday through Sunday in Dresden, Germany.
Bilderberg meetings are closed to the public, and although an agenda is released, it remains relatively unclear what participants discuss. The Bilderberg Group has a reputation among some of its critics as a body of kingmakers.
Georgieva, the European commissioner for budget and human resources, was the lone EU executive in attendance at the 2016 conference. Georgieva’s press officer, Andreana Stankova, said Georgieva attended Bilderberg in a personal capacity but also presented the views of the EU and the European Commission on topics discussed at the conference.
On Friday, EU news publication EurActiv reported former European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, also a Bilderberg attendee, promoted Georgieva at the conference as the next United Nations Secretary-General. Barroso is a member of the Bilderberg Group’s steering committee.
EurActiv also reported Barroso traveled to Bulgaria and met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on June 7, two days before the conference, to lobby for Sofia to change its UN Secretary-General nomination.
In February, Georgieva announced she would not run for the secretary-general position. The same day, Bulgaria nominated Irina Bokova, the head of the UN cultural organization UNESCO.
Both Georgieva and Bokova were considered to be among the leading candidates for the job.
The EurActiv report states Borisov reportedly told Georgieva he could not nominate her because she had a “dossier.” It is unknown what, if anything, is in the dossier. But, the day after Borisov nominated Bokova, Georgieva reportedly contacted Comdos, the agency that handles disclosure of documents revealing Bulgarian nationals’ affiliation with the former security services.
Still, western political elites are said to prefer Georgieva over Bokova. The latter has strong ties to the former Bulgarian Communist Party and is viewed more favorably by Russia. Bokova is the daughter of Georgi Bokov, who ran the Bulgarian Communist Party’s official newspaper.
Stankova would not say whether Georgieva would support Bokova’s nomination.
European media have speculated that a country other than Bulgaria may nominate Georgieva for UN Secretary-General. The Times of London reported that several central and eastern European countries are considering doing so.
EurActiv additionally reported that Georgieva sent former Portuguese MEP Mario David to lobby other countries to nominate her for UN chief. David contacted the governments of Hungary and Albania, according to the EurActiv report.
The speculation surrounding Georgieva’s Bilderberg appearance and her possible candidacy for UN Secretary-General prompted questions about the issues during EU press briefings on Friday and Monday.
European Commission Deputy Chief Spokesperson Mina Andreeva said Georgieva is focused on her job. Andreeva also said it is a conspiracy theory that Georgieva went to Bilderberg to pursue the job of UN chief.
EU rules preclude European commissioners from searching for other jobs.
Some critics of Bilderberg say the secretive group has enough influence to select the next UN Secretary-General. As evidence of the group’s alleged kingmaking powers, critics point to former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, current German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others rising to power shortly after making appearances at Bilderberg conferences.
While attending the conference, Georgieva did not speak with the press. In the brief instances she was seen outside the Kempinski Hotel, Georgieva walked alone to and from a Saturday night banquet at Dresden Castle. On Sunday, she hurried into the car that drove her away from the hotel.
FreeManPost requested an interview with Georgieva. The request was denied.
European Commission VP Kristalina Georgieva exiting #Bilderberg and doing so in a hurry. pic.twitter.com/FWoBy8z8ip
— Josh Friedman (@FreeManReporter) June 16, 2016