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Bilderberg's Glamour and Secrecy Comes to the UK

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (R) and shadow chancellor Ed Balls
Toby Melville | WPA Pool | Getty Images
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (R) and shadow chancellor Ed Balls

As Britain's Queen celebrates 60 years since her coronation, another formidable bastion of power and dominance passes its own Diamond Jubilee: the Bilderberg Group meets in Watford, U.K. this week for the 61st time.

The annual conference will see around 140 political leaders and experts from other fields - industry, finance, academia and the media - partake in secretive and informal discussions about the matters of the day. Two-thirds of the guests are from Europe; the rest from North America.

This year's areas of interest include nationalism and populism, Africa's challenges, cyber warfare, politics of the EU and, somewhat in keeping with everything above, "current affairs."

(Read More: Rich, Famous and Powerful Converge at Bilderberg 2011)

What is said or agreed upon regarding any of these areas will not be disseminated, so do not expect a coherent new agenda for the EU: the Bilderberg Group's allure comes from it being the ultimate networking opportunity without any strings attached.

Individuals can be candid without fear of reprisal. As the group's website states, "Thanks to the private nature of the conference, the participants are not bound by the conventions of office or by pre-agreed positions. As such, they can take time to listen, reflect and gather insights. There is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued."

This will come as a relief for many of this year's participants.

As the U.K. deals with a parliamentary lobbying scandal, the country's chancellor and shadow chancellor, George Osborne and Ed Balls respectively, might be glad of the secrecy surrounding their conversations with the heads of Barclays, McKinsey & Company, BP, Goldman Sachs & Co. and HSBC, to name a few.

Furthermore, with both Google's Eric Schmidt and Amazon's Jeff Bezos in attendance, Osborne and Balls may well attempt to use one of the soirees during the three-day event to persuade the tech giants to pay more corporation tax.

(Read More: Tax Evasion Dangerous for Europe: Schulz)

Other guests include recent birthday boy Henry Kissinger, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, General David Petraeus, former US Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

The secretive nature of Bilderberg has meant it has always had its critics, with those on the left accusing it of being a capitalist conspiracy, and others seeing it as an attempt to create a planned, world economy.

British MP Michael Meacher, for example, told The Guardian newspaper that Bilderberg was "an anti-democratic cabal of the leaders of western market capitalism meeting in private to maintain their own power and influence outside the reach of public scrutiny."

Contact World Economy

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