The Bilderberg Group is famously shy of press attention. An article in the Daily Express, February 12, 1957 (a few years after the first official conference) shows how a veil of “secrecy and security” was drawn over the event – even in the early days:
According the group’s website: “An annual press conference on the eve of the Meeting was held for several decades up until the nineties, but it was stopped due to a lack of interest.”
There were a few signs, a while ago, that this might change. At the 2013 conference in Watford, for the first time, there was a press area set up within the grounds of the Grove Hotel, where the event was taking place. And the Bilderberg Group itself appointed a press relations contact, another first.
However, in 2015, this media contact was adamant: “As ever, there will be no press statement after the conference. Furthermore, we do not facilitate the opportunity to interview any of the participants.” Likewise in 2018: “I don’t expect the press conference to be reinstated.”
The lack of a press conference or any post-meeting statement to the press is hard to square with the number of politicians who attend the talks (often with teams of aides and advisors). When it was announced that the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, would be attending the 2013 conference, the announcement was made in the spirit of openness: “the prime minister has always been clear about the importance of transparency”. Two years earlier, Cameron himself said, in Prime Minister’s Questions (July 13, 2011):
“the relationship between politicians and the media must change and we must be more transparent, too, about meetings, particularly with executives, editors, proprietors and the rest of it.”
This is particularly true of the Bilderberg Group meetings, with its mix of senior politicians and senior lobbyists: ministers and prime ministers, meeting with top business executives and media proprietors, behind closed doors, for three days. Whether the press will ever be invited to a press conference at the venue, which would seem entirely appropriate given the make-up of the event, remains a matter for speculation and hope.