Who are the Bilderberg members in 2019

Three Austrians take part in the controversial Bilderberg meeting

This year, too, the economic and political elite from Europe and the USA will meet again for discussions behind closed doors. This time it should also be about the future of Europe.

Around 130 participants from politics, business and finance will come together for the controversial Bilderberg Conference in Switzerland from Thursday. According to the organizers, participants from 23 countries in Europe and North America will take part in the four-day meeting in Montreux. The agenda includes discussions on eleven topics, including the future of Europe and climate change.

Two thirds of the 120 to 150 guests at the somewhat mythical gathering are usually recruited from the political and economic establishment of Europe, one third from the USA. Well-known faces are represented again this year. For example, the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU), the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, his Estonian colleague Jüri Ratas, the head of the German CDU, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, France's Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Spanish opposition leader Pablo Casado.

US Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger announced their visit from the USA. The heads of the French oil giant Total, the German media group Springer and Bank Credit Suisse are also expected.

Rendi-Wagner took part in the previous year

Other prominent names on the list of participants are ex-EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, ex-Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche, the former CIA boss David Petraeus, the former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Dutch King Willem-Alexander.

The list of participants also includes three Austrians, the media manager Gerhard Zeiler, the former SPÖ minister and general director of the Kontrollbank Rudolf Scholten and the rector of the Vienna University of Economics, Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger. In the previous year, a few months before her freestyle to the SPÖ boss, ex-health minister Pamela Rendi-Wagner took part in the meeting.

Ex-President Heinz Fischer, Ex-Chancellor Franz Vranitzky and Alfred Gusenbauer had also followed the call of the "Bilderbergers" in the past, as did ex-Ministers Hannes Androsch or Martin Bartenstein, Erste Bank boss Andreas Treichl and Raiffeisen Bank -Chef Walter Rothensteiner.

Conspiracy theories around the Bilderberg group

The Bilderberg Conference met for the first time in 1954 in the Hotel "De Bilderberg" in Oosterbeek, Holland. They were founded with the aim of promoting dialogue between Europe and North America. The meetings are named after the first venue, a hotel in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands. There, in 1954, the Dutch Prince Bernhard gathered politicians and entrepreneurs for the first time in order to counteract the tendencies of division in the western hemisphere against the backdrop of the Cold War.

Since then, the group has met in a different country every year. The composition of the participants is constantly changing. The summit always ends without a final declaration, there are no written resolutions. Critics have long accused the Bilderberg Group of making important political and economic decisions at its conferences without democratic legitimation and public scrutiny. According to conspiracy theories, the "Bilderbergers" are said to have initiated the creation of the EU, the oil crisis, the reunification of Germany or the Iraq invasion.

(APA / red.)