Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva attended a meeting of the secretive Bilderberg group in Dresden yesterday (9 June), where, according to information obtained by euractiv.com, former Commission President José Manuel Barroso promoted her as the next UN Secretary-General.
The official list of participants at the annual meeting includes the name of Georgieva. According to the Commission’s program, Georgieva was indeed in Germany. However, the Bilderberg event is not mentioned.
Speaking to a Bulgarian media, Georgieva said she attended the Bilderberg meeting in private capacity, but “presented the position of the Commission”.
EURACTIV asked the executive to confirm or deny that it was aware that Georgieva participated to the Bilderberg gathering, and received confirmation that her participation was in private capacity. The European Commission’s weekly program mentions that Georgieva was in Germany yesterday, where she delivered a keynote speech at Berlin’s Europe in a changing world conference, and also had a meeting in Dresden with Stanislaw Tillich, the premier of Saxony .
Georgieva’s name appears in the Bilderberg gathering list alongside VIPs such as Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Thomas de Maizière, the interior minister of Germany, Kyriakos Mistotakis, the leader of Greece’s New Democracy party, Michael Noonan, minister of finance of Ireland, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Barroso and others.
Georgieva tweeted from the Berlin conference, and from her meeting with Tilich in Dresden, but not from the Bilderberg gathering.
Former Council President Herman Van Rompuy hosted a Bilderberg event in Brussels, in order to secure his appointment, in 2009.
Barroso has attended Bilderberg gatherings without making a secret out of it. In 2015, the Commission authorised his plan to become a member of the Steering Group of the Bilderberg Conferences.
According to information obtained by EURACTIV, Barroso organised the Bilderberg gathering to lobby for Georgieva’s nomination as a candidate for UN Secretary-General. On a visit to Bulgaria on Tuesday (7 June), Barroso asked the country’s prime minister, Boyko Borissov, to change the Bulgarian candidate for the top job.
On 8 February, the Bulgarian government announced that Georgieva will continue with her duties, putting an end to speculation that she would run for UN Secretary-General. On the same day, Borissov confirmed the nomination of Irina Bokova, who currently leads the United Nations largest agency UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, as Bulgaria’s candidate to replace Ban Ki-moon, whose second term expires on 31 December.
Strangely, on the next day, 9 February, Georgieva contacted Comdos, the service that deals with the access and disclosure of documents announcing the affiliation of Bulgarian nationals to the former security services. Borissov is reported to have told Georgieva that he cannot nominate her, because she had a “dossier”, as such documents are popularly known.
EURACTIV contacted Evtim Kostadinov, the head of Comdos, who sent a letter in which he says that his services have contacted the intelligence agencies with respect to all Bulgarian nationals who work in international institutions, but hasn’t received answers from all of them.
“Up to now, 20 April 2016, in the answers received from the competent institutions, the name of Ms. Kristalina Georgieva doesn’t appear,” Evtimov writes.
But EURACTIV also learned that Georgieva sent former Portuguese MEP Mario David to lobby for another country to nominate her for the UN top job. Reportedly David contacted the governments of Hungary and Albania.
A UN source told EURACTIV that indeed, another country from Eastern Europe could nominate Georgieva. The name of Albania has been mentioned. A last hearing with new candidates for the top job could be held around 10 July.
If another country nominates Georgieva, this would be a precedent in the UN’s practice of selecting Secretary-Generals. There is no legal barrier to such a move, although a candidate which is not supported by its own country doesn’t appear to have strong chances.
Supporters of Georgieva in Sofia, who are close to the George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, are putting pressure on Borissov to withdraw Bokova’s candidacy. But Borissov is reported to have no intention of making such a move.
It is highly unlikely that most UN members, including permament members of the Security Council, would appreciate the way in which Georgieva is being promoted. In the meantime, reportedly 9 countries of the 15-member UN Security Council have already expressed support for Bokova, Bulgarian diplomats told EURACTIV.
Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva was asked to comment at the midday briefing in which way the possibility of a Commissioner looking for another job was compatible with EU treaties.
Andreeva provided no answer on the legal side, but confirmed that Georgieva and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had discussed the possibility that the issue of her candidacy for the top UN job may arise.
“But for the moment Vice president Georgieva is fully focused on her job, and the President has great admiration for the international experience, negotiation skills and work capacity of Ms. Georgieva, and especially in this time of the refugee crisis where she’s organising all the time the necessary budget for us to manage the refugee crisis”, she said.
Following the publication of this article, Dick Roche, former Irish minister, contacted EURACTIV to express his amazement by Georgieva’s secretive participation in the Bilderberg gathering, which he called “a sinister development” of her career plans. In an email, he wrote:
“The Bilderberg Group can discuss whatever it wants. However as a private organisation operating behind closed doors it certainly:
- should not be secretly briefed on EU policy
- should play no role in evolving EU policy
- should certainly not be used as a behind the scenes instrument to manipulate the most important position in international diplomacy.
The Commission should release the full text of any statement made by the Commission VP .
It is incredibly improper for the former Commission President to seek to pressurise a member state on a matter of sovereign policy.
It seems to me that all sorts of lines are being crossed here.”