On Friday, a conference that has no analogues in the Czech Republic will begin in Prague. World statesmen, diplomats and businessmen will gather there. They will hold office in two of the city’s most valuable buildings. However, there is no public guest list, exact program or media releases. These circumstances accompany the Trilateral Commission conference, which is one of the most closed influence platforms in the world. Aktuálně.cz describes the details of the event.
Preparations for the evening program will begin this coming Saturday at nine o’clock in the morning in the Rothmayer Hall and the Spanish Hall of the Prague Castle. However, it is not created by the presidential office, as one might expect. The Public Picture & Marketing company from the PPF financial group, which was founded the year before last by the late businessman Petr Kellner, is preparing an event for its client.
The company will host a client it has never had before in its representative premises. He organizes gala dinners for about 250 people. All of them left a visible mark in world politics, diplomacy or business. They are members of the Trilateral Commission, which is one of the most influential groups in the world. And it includes at least three Czechs.
“The long-term head of the Czech group of the Trilateral Commission is Mr. Ladislav Bartoníček, until recently one of the shareholders of the PPF. The PPF is the general sponsor of the European meeting of the commission, which is being held in Prague this year and which will be attended by a number of important personalities from politics, business and social life,” he told Aktuálně .cz company spokesperson Leoš Rousek.
Pavel at dinner, Fiala sends a toast
Dinner at Prague Castle is the highlight of the conference, which begins in Prague on Friday and ends on Sunday. The main program will take place in the Municipal House. For this purpose, the company Public Picture & Marketing has rented the first floor of the most valuable art nouveau building in Prague. He will start preparing the facilities for lectures, discussions and seminars in a social spirit on Thursday evening.
Some influential Czechs will also take part in the event. As PPF spokesperson Rousek confirmed to the editors, the mentioned businessman Bartoníček will make a speech at the conference. The head of state will also participate in the program at Prague Castle. “President Pavel accepted the invitation to Saturday’s gala dinner,” Eva Hromádková from the press department of the castle office told Aktuálně.cz.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS), who is on a state tour in Africa, will also participate remotely. He sends a video greeting to the conference guests. “The conference participants will hear the content of the speech first. He was invited to the event by the European director of the commission, Axel A. Weber,” government spokesman Václav Smolka told the editorial board. As Aktuálně.cz confirmed the Černín Palace, Deputy Foreign Minister Eduard Hulicius will also arrive.
In addition to Bartoníček, members of the commission for the Czech Republic include the former Minister of Industry and Trade from the 1990s and the former president of the Chamber of Commerce, Vladimír Dlouhý, and the director of the Czech branch of Google, Taťána le Moigne. The Aktuálně.cz editorial team managed to connect with Dlouhý. However, he did not answer the question if he would participate in the event.
He was the American president at the time of its creation
The Trilateral Commission was established in 1973, founded by the then governor of the state of Georgia and later US president Jimmy Carter, financier David Rockefeller and adviser to several US presidents Zbigniew Brzezinski. The purpose of the commission was to create a functional forum where the United States, Europe and Asia, especially Japan at the time, would exchange information.
“It is one of the formats that exists in today’s relatively fragmented international order. It is a space for the exchange of opinions, especially with regard to the development of the world economy and the organization of international economic relations,” former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček (SOCDEM ).
Former co-owner of PPF Ladislav Bartoníček. | Photo: PPF
The trilateral commission consists of approximately 400 people, including one of the most influential diplomats of the 20th century and the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, the head of commentary for the American newspaper Washington Post, Michael Duffy, or the top manager of the largest Japanese spirits manufacturer, Suntory Takeshi Niinami .
Unlike official platforms such as the G7 or G20 groups, or the informal Economic Forum in Davos, the commission’s meetings are closed. They are not media outlets. “It provides an opportunity to talk about strategic topics much more openly than in public formats, where often only official positions are presented,” explained ex-minister Petříček.
PPF will pay two million crowns
The organizer of the conference, the mentioned company Public Picture & Marketing from the PPF group, is preparing it precisely because its former shareholder and, after the death of Petr Kellner, a key figure of the group for a while, Ladislav Bartoníček, is the only Czech member of the European part of the commission. The company rented the relevant premises of the Prague Castle and the Municipal House.
The Spanish and Rothmayer Halls are available from Saturday nine o’clock in the morning until Sunday three o’clock at night. The company will pay 435,000 crowns including VAT to the administration of Prague Castle for their use. This follows from the contract that Aktuálně.cz studied. For this amount, the administration has already provided premises for other social events in the past.
“I cannot tell you the amount, because the concluded contract does not allow it,” answered Aktuálně.cz Vlastimil Ježek, chairman of the board of the Obecní dům company, which manages the building of the same name. The company is owned by the capital city of Prague, so it is a public entity. However, according to information from Aktuálně.cz, PPF paid approximately 1.5 million crowns for the premises.