The annual conference, originally designed to prevent WWIII in 1954, moved on to creating and facilitating dialogue between Europe and North America, especially concerning the maintenance of the free market and the protection of capitalism. There are usually fewer than 150 participants that include political leaders, economists, and experts from media and academia. Let’s see what happened during the 2019 group meeting.
The meeting was held in Montreux this year form 30 May to 2 June. The key discussions for this year included Russia, China, cybersecurity, AI, and Brexit, among others. One of the key topics was also social media, seeing as how major social media platforms have frequently been used in the past few years for the political agenda that is not exactly by-the-book.
One must also not forget the threat of climate change, especially with figures like Greta Thunberg being in the global spotlight with strikes and protests. The future of Europe was also discussed by the 130 attendees from 23 countries. This was the 67th such meeting and the tradition is likely to continue in the future years. As it is a meeting between Europe and North America, there are no representatives of Asian countries.
The chairman of the meeting was Henri de Castries, a French businessman who is also the former CEO of AXA. Other members of the board were Marie-Josée Kravis, Victor Halberstadt, and Paul M. Achleitner.
As stated before, 130 persons confirmed their attendance. The USA had 33 delegates, counting Marie-Josée Kravis. Jared Kushner, the Senior Advisor to the President of the United States, and also his son-in-law, was among the American attendees. A few other members of the White House were also, allegedly, supposed to appear. There were 12 participants from the UK, including Andrew Adonis, the Member of the House of Lords.
Why the Secrecy?
As you may or may not know, the Bilderberg conference is usually held in secret. Why? There are several reasons for this, most notably the ability of the participants to express their views openly without feeling like they are in the spotlight. Secondly, the attendees are not there to present their groups or organizations – or even their countries. They are there to give their expert and neutral opinion on what the situations that need addressing are and how to tackle them.
The principle of the meeting is not some plot to agree on how to rule the world, but a simple discussion, without any detailed agenda or votes. The meeting is there to ensure each issue is properly considered and discussed openly.