At Bilderberg’s bigwig bash two things are guaranteed: Kissinger and secrecy

The annual elite networking, diplomatic and lobbying event took place in splendid seclusion behind closed doors in Lisbon

The Portuguese sun was doing its cheery best to make this year’s Bilderberg meeting seem warm and welcoming, but nothing could take the deathly chill out of the official agenda of the secretive shindig for some of the world’s most powerful people.

Ukraine, Russia and Nato weighed heavy on the schedule, with “Fiscal Challenges” and “Transnational Threats” seeming like light relief. “Today,” said the head of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, arriving in Lisbon to attend the talks, “our security environment is more dangerous than it has been since the cold war.”

This annual three-day conference is many things – an elite networking event, a diplomatic summit, a lobbying opportunity for transnational financial interests, an intense focus of conspiracy theory gossip – but above all, the 69th Bilderberg conference, at the glorious Pestana Palace, appeared like a council of war.

Ukraine’s foreign minister hadn’t come to Lisbon because he loves the happy clatter of trams, and the supreme allied commander Europe wasn’t here for the custard tarts. Which was a shame, because they’re excellent. I guess they can’t risk dusting them with cinnamon in Henry Kissinger’s presence, because one sneeze might be enough to carry him off to his reward.

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