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Fact Check-World Economic Forum letters show 51st Annual Meeting invites

Invitations for Dutch politicians to the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit have been misrepresented online to claim they are “leaked” letters and evidence of secret collusion between the Swiss organization and the Dutch government to push “The Great Reset”, a proposed economic plan at the centre of widespread conspiracy theories.

Social media users shared photographs of letters addressed to Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra and Sigrid Kaag, former minister of foreign trade and development cooperation, saying they have been “leaked” (here, here, here).

The papers are refreshing widespread conspiracy theories, including that the Great Reset is part of a sinister plot for a global takeover by the rich and powerful.

One user sharing the documents wrote: “The Great Reset can no longer be dismissed as a conspiracy theory... The plan is that by 2030 ‘You will own nothing, and you will be happy.’”

However, the “leaked letters” are in fact invitations to the 51st World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, which were released by the Dutch cabinet in response to an MP’s request, according to Hoekstra’s spokesperson.

Additionally, the WEF and its affiliates have been open about its “Great Reset” economic proposals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On request of Pepijn van Houwelingen, a member of parliament for the Forum for Democracy (FvD) party (here), the Dutch cabinet sent official documentation including invitations regarding the WEF to the Dutch parliament, said Ruud Mikkers, the finance minister’s spokesperson.

The documents were also published on the Dutch government’s website on Dec. 18 (here).

Mikkers told Reuters by email: “There is nothing secretive behind it.

“Mr Hoekstra, like [Prime Minister Mark] Rutte, received an official invitation for the WEF this year, which was finally cancelled because of COVID.”

It is a “typical invitation” for WEF, which Hoekstra attended in 2018, 2019 and 2020, Mikkers said.

Wopke Hoekstra and Sigrid Kaag are also both listed on the WEF website as contributors to the organization and summit (here, here).

Mikkers added: “The great reset is in our view just a simple term, or if you like a metaphor to ask the question what we can learn from the crisis and can do better after the crisis. Most certainly it is not what conspiracy thinkers make of it.”

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting is a summit of world leaders held yearly in the Swiss mountain resort town of Davos.

In June 2020, Britain's Prince Charles said the COVID-19 pandemic represented a “reset moment” and a chance to transform the crisis into an opportunity to make the global economy and societies more sustainable (youtu.be/hRPQqfwwuhU, here).

The prince’s remarks were made as part of the launch of “The Great Reset”, a project involving the WEF in partnership with the Prince of Wales’s Sustainable Markets Initiative, and the theme of the Jan. 2021 annual summit (here).

Speaking during the launch of the initiative on June 3, 2020, the Prince said (here “We have an incredible opportunity to create entirely new sustainable industries, investing in nature as the true engine of our economy.”

The WEF’s Great Reset proposals span green energy, climate change, reduced inequality and calls for a “new form of capitalism” (here).

The initiative has been advertised widely online (www.weforum.org/great-reset/), in videos and in a book co-authored by WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab (here).

Reuters has previously debunked the claim that the WEF has a stated goal to have people own nothing by 2030 here.

Reuters has also debunked separate claims in relating to the Great Reset here and here.

VERDICT

Misleading. The letters were not “leaked” but were released as part of a Freedom of Information request. There is no evidence the “Great Reset” is part of an ominous plan by the WEF to control people.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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