Splash! Could that be the sound of Lord Mandelson hitting one of the Dolce hotel’s four pools? Or Robert Zoellick of the World Bank? Paul Volcker of the US Economic Recovery Advisory Board? Or merely the euro taking another dive?
That is the thing about the Bilderberg group’s top secret meetings: you never know quite what is going on behind the police checkpoints.
Across the world, secretaries to the rich and the powerful have blocked out the next three days in their bosses’ calendars for their annual gathering, this time at the Dolce in Sitges, one of Spain’s most exclusive resorts.
Normally, every minute of their working lives is accounted for but, each year, a couple of hundred of the world’s financial elite and the more business-friendly members of the political class disappear from view; supposedly to save the planet from the dangers of parochialism, the nationalist genie.
It is all terribly confidential — breathe a word about it and you’re out of the club — but the Bilderberg watcher Daniel Estulin claims to have a copy of the agenda. The big question this time around is whether the euro will survive. “They are afraid that the countries in trouble will leave and the euro will fall apart,” said Mr Estulin. “The biggest nightmare is if EU members return to nationally orientated policies.”
That would certainly explain why the keynote address is being given by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister. The Piigs — Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain — are of concern to the Bilderbergers. After all, the club was set up in 1954 by a Polish exile, Joseph Retinger, to create a European bulwark against the spread of communism. It provided the germ of the European idea; Franco-German reconciliation, the entry of West Germany into Nato, the Maastricht treaty — all were cooked up in annual fireside chats.
Now, according to Mr Estulin’s information, the Bilderbergers are nervous that the erosion of the euro could nudge the world back into recession while public services cuts could trigger unrest and radicalise the political climate.