By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The annual Bilderberg conference, which kicks off Thursday in Dresden, Germany, will have one Bulgarian participant. You would not know that, though, by looking at the nationalities on the participants list.
Kristalina Georgieva, a high-ranking European Union bureaucrat whose name has been floated as a possible candidate for chief of the United Nations, is listed as an international participant. The attendees list also classifies NATO, IMF and ECB officials as “INT.”
Georgieva is the current European commissioner for budget and human resources. There is some speculation that Georgieva could enter the race to become the next UN Secretary General. Georgieva said earlier this year that she would not run for the position.
The Bilderberg Group is an organization of European and North American elites from business and politics. Bilderberg conferences take place annually at hotels or resorts in Europe or North America. The meetings are closed to the public, and members of the press who are invited to attend do not report on the conferences.
European participants at Bilderberg conferences primarily come from western, northern and southern Europe. The conferences do not draw many participants from Eastern Europe.
But, Eastern Europe will likely factor into the discussion as this weekend’s conference. Topics on the agenda released by Bilderberg include Russia, geopolitics of energy and “Europe: migration, growth, reform, vision, unity.”
While not listed on the agenda, the group may discuss the current UN Secretary General race. The next UN chief was expected to come from Eastern Europe, but many diplomats are unsatisfied with the candidates Eatern European countries have nominated.
Georgieva was considered one of the leading candidates for the post until she announced in February that she would not run for the position.
Bulgaria instead nominated Irina Bokova, the head of UN cultural organization UNESCO. Bokova is a controversial selection because of her ties to the former Bulgarian Communist Party. Bokova’s father, Georgi Bokov, ran the communist party’s official newspaper.
Western political elites are said to prefer Georgieva as a candidate for UN Secretary General. European media have speculated that the United Kingdom may nominate Georgieva on its own or attempt to pressure Bulgaria into revoking Bokova’s nomination.
Georgieva’s name is now being floated, as well, as a possible candidate for the Bulgarian presidency. This week, Georgieva’s Bulgarian party, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), announced that Georgieva is one of the party’s two leading candidates to run for president. The other is Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Focus Information Agency reports. It is unclear whether either Georgieva or Borisov would be willing to give up their current posts to run for the Bulgarian presidency.
Current President Rosen Plevneliev announced last month that he would not run for reelection. Bulgarian presidential elections will be held in October.
The UN Secretary General election is also expected to occur by the end of the year. Current Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to leave office on Dec. 31.