Article Index

Pulling Strings Behind the Scenes

In fact, the Global Players prefer to leave their influence over the EU in the shadows – through a tangle of more than 50 organisations, barely to be understood by experts, having more or less direct ties to Veolia. And of course pantouflage is also omnipresent in Brussels, which makes the borders between the interests of multinational companies, national states and the EU all the more hazy. Here are three examples of the so-called “big fish”. Suez’ chairman of the board, Yves Thibault de Silguy, is a former EU Commissar. He teaches at the French École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, the college for civil engineering from which 120 civil engineers graduate each year. At the same time, he heads the Communication Department of the Water Trade Professional Association – a foundation created by the consortium Suez, Vivendi and Saur. On top of this, he boasts of his former affiliation to the French leftist party. Joachim Bitterlich, Veolia’s Executive Vice-President, was for more than eleven years very close to State Chancellor Helmut Kohl, dealing initially with European politics matters, then between 1993 and 1998 as leader of the Department for Foreign Policy, Development and Security of the State Chancellery. An article in Zeit magazine described him as a “co-minister for foreign affairs” and “the most powerful civil servant in Bonn”. His exceptional commitment to the EU assured him of an influence and a big trust in Brussels lasting to this day. Stéphane Buffetaut, Veolia’s Director for Relationships with the EU, was a member of the European Parliament and still sits in the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).