As the EU referendum looms, a great counsel of war is gathering. Henri de Castries, the Chairman of the influential Bilderberg Group, has made his way to the highest hill above Dresden, placed a mighty conch shell to his aristocratic French lips and blown.
Responding to his call, 140 or so of the most powerful pro-European business leaders and politicians will be making their way to the five-star Hotel Taschenbergpalais to discuss the future of their beloved free trade zone.
The annual three-day Bilderberg conference kicks off on Thursday, and you can be sure the mood in Dresden will be a grim one. The heads of Google, Shell, BP and Deutsche Bank will be there, and Brexit will be top of the agenda. The Bilderberg Group has been nurturing the EU to life since the 1950s, and now they see their creation under dire threat.
“A disaster for everyone” is how Henri de Castries, the boss of AXA and a director of HSBC, describes Brexit. But in particular, it is a disaster for his banking and big business colleagues at Bilderberg. Thomas Enders, the CEO of Airbus, who sits on Bilderberg’s steering committee – the group’s governing body – said, in a recent interview with CNBC, that his industry would be “lobbying” against Brexit.