‘If European commissioners attend the Bilderberg ‘shadow world government’ events at the taxpayers’ expense, doesn’t the public have a right to know what goes on behind the closed doors? PublicServiceEurope.com dissects the commissioners’ latest expenses claims, including first-class flights
European Commissioners who attended the latest meeting of the secretive Bilderberg group have been accused of double standards for refusing to reveal any details of what was said during the seminars while charging the taxpayer more than €4,000 each to cover their expenses. Spanish Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia put in an expenses bill of €4,322 following the four-day meeting in the American state of Virginia - which brought together political leaders, the private sector and royalty in what has been dubbed a ‘shadow world government’.
Meanwhile, the expenses of Dutch European Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes totalled €4,167, while the expenses of Belgian Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht came to a mere €980 as he combined attendance at the May event with a separate trip to Washington. The figures were revealed by the commission itself in response to a parliamentary question by Philip Claeys, a Belgian MEP who wanted to know if the bureaucrats were attending as private individuals or as representatives of the European Union. According to the event’s official website “participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity”, although according to commission president Jose Manuel Barroso the three were indeed representing the Brussels executive. Responding to Claey’s question, Barroso said that “the travel expenses incurred were paid by the commission, as for any mission”.
Claeys tells PublicServiceEurope.com that Barroso’s reply was “very strange”. He continues: “I think that is a lot of money. The commissioners say they were attending in their own capacity and were invited personally, but when it comes to paying their expenses - suddenly they are members of the European commission. It is not correct. When there are questions about what is going on, about who said what, they cannot say. They should at least pay their own expenses.”’