Hot Topics

Bilderberg Group 2018: the world’s power elite of business and politics gather in Turin behind closed doors

Go to George Tchetvertakov author's page
By George Tchetvertakov - 
Bilderberg Group 2018 meeting Turin

Attended by over 130 of the world’s elite figures in business and politics, the 2018 Bilderberg Group meeting is being held in Turin, Italy.


The 66th annual meeting of some of the world’s leading business and political figures, otherwise known as the Bilderberg Group has commenced, running from 7-10 June.

This year’s confab is being held in Turin, Italy, for only the fourth time since the Bilderberg Group has held such meetings since its inception in 1954.

The meetings have traditionally been kept very low-key, but over the past decade or so, both the attendants and their agenda have been the brunt of intrigue and criticism.

Bilderberg agenda in 2018

According to Bilderberg Meetings, this year’s discussion points include:

  1. Populism in Europe
  2. The inequality challenge
  3. The future of work
  4. Artificial intelligence
  5. The US before midterms
  6. Free trade
  7. US world leadership
  8. Russia
  9. Quantum computing
  10. Saudi Arabia and Iran
  11. The “post-truth” world
  12. Current events

It’s a rather illustrious agenda with several key topics cropping up again just like in previous years – which  has led to criticism that pivotal decisions regarding billions of people are being made behind closed doors with potentially chaotic consequences.

In previous years, hot topics of discussion have been titled as, ‘The direction of the EU,’ ‘The war on information,’ ‘Why is populism growing?’ and ‘Russia in the international order.’

The world’s elite are back to discuss all that and more.

Elite defence

According to Bilderberg Meetings, the organisation which organises the group’s meeting each year, the invite-only group of captains of industry, royals, politicians, senators and moguls “meets annually and welcomes informal discussions designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America” – two continents from which the vast majority of delegates hail from.

Around 150 political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media are invited to take part in the meeting, but the annual event isn’t short of critics.

According to a Bilderberg Group statement, “the meeting is a forum for informal discussions about megatrends and major issues facing the world.”

Despite the official statements, the annual meetings typically attract a hail of criticism from various sections of the public including bloggers and market commentators, but rarely large media organisations or political figureheads.

Sourcing criticism

The prime reason for the critique stems from the fact that all Bilderberg meetings have always been held under what’s known as the ‘Chatham House Rule’ first developed in 1927 by the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), a royal-family-approved think-tank based at Chatham House in the UK, that claims it is an independent policy institute on a mission “to help build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world.”

The Chatham Rule states that “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor of any other participant may be revealed.” This type of methodology (critics claim) allows for disingenuous and harmful ideas to be discussed and policy decisions proposed, without fear of discovery or public awareness.

In other words, anything can be said without consequence under the guise of free-thinking espousal of ideas, even if some of those ideas happen to come from influential leaders of companies and political parties that direct millions of people at the stroke of a pen (or the wangling of a tongue).

Chatham House London UK Royal Institute International Affairs

Chatham House in London, UK; home to the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Chatham House was founded by famous British federalist Lionel George Curtis who advocated for a world state in his book Civitas Dei published in 1934 – exactly the thing that Bilderberg critics claim the organisation is working towards.

The empire-building imperialism-supportive Mr Curtis was also the original ideologue behind the Commonwealth, a politico-economic union celebrated by millions of Australians, Brits and Canadians to this day.

Chatham House-based RIIA also happens to be the sister organisation to the US-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and attracts as much conspiracy-related criticism as the Bilderberg Group itself.

In 1950, one of the CFR’s original members James Warburg was quoted as saying: “We shall have world government, whether or not we like it. The question is only whether world government will be achieved by consent or by conquest.”

His father Paul Warburg founded the CFR and the Federal Reserve, currently the most influential central bank in the world.

Critics claim that organisations such as the Bilderberg Group and its apparatchik think tanks have been established to supplant the policy decisions of elected officials and do all the thinking for them – all without having any accountability to the voting public.

Critics also claim that the broader Bilderberg Group is masquerading as a placid discussion forum, when in fact, it is a policy dissemination mouthpiece that distributes policy decisions to the higher echelons of public and private organisations alike, by individuals that are often anonymous and disingenuous.

Structure of power

Today, the Bilderberg Group is managed by a 32-man “steering committee” with a lead chairman who is duly replaced every 4 years.

The current incumbent is Frenchman Henri de Castries, Chairman of Institut Montaigne, a non-profit transpartisan think tank that proposes public policy recommendations to “improve social cohesion, competitiveness and public spending in a variety of policy fields.”

Henri de Castries former CEO AXA chairman Bilderberg Group

Henri de Castries, former CEO of AXA and current chairman of the Bilderberg Group of business leaders.

According to Institut Montaigne, its work is based on international benchmarks and collaborations between experts from the French business community, academia, civil society and government.

However, critics claim that unelected think-tanks and supranational organisations such as the RIIA, CFR, Institut Montaigne, Bilderberg Group and hundreds of other such like groups make up a spider-web of “globalists” who collaborate within roundtable groups that intend to surreptitiously take over decision making in all countries, especially those at the epicentre of trade, economics and politics.

The secretive nature of the talking points at the Bilderberg meetings combined with the rather prestigious invite list has led many to label the upcoming event as conspiratorial world leaders discussing matters that pertain to several sensitive topics such as monopolisation of global industries, centralisation of banks towards one central authority, land appropriation under the guise of environmental protection and usury in the form of fractional reserve banking.

Not only that but critics also claim that several policies are masquerading as well-to-do goodwill initiatives, (but are actually carefully planned methodologies hidden in plain sight to ensnare the world’s unaware population) such as Agenda 21, quantitative easing, multigender identification, mass surveillance, transhumanism and Zionism.

Politically protected

Given the Chatham rule-powered private nature of the Bilderberg meetings, the participants are not bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions.

As such, critics claim that the above issues could well be discussed but without a detailed agenda, resolutions, minutes or votes taken – many of tomorrow’s policy decisions towards a bleak authoritarian police state are potentially being forged under the noses of the watching public.

Attendants of the Bilderberg Group have included the likes of former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, British royal Prince Charles and famous US industrialist David Rockefeller and all have vehemently denied criticism regarding abuse of power, saying that they are the ramblings of tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists.

Henry Kissinger David Rockefeller Bilderberg Group

Henry Kissinger (left) with David Rockefeller (right) at the AsiaSociety gala dinner in 2006.

The best and most common defence used by authorities against conspiracy critics is that someone would have blown the whistle and that to endure such depraved and deeply instituted conspiracies requires thousands of people to keep quiet (and not make any slip-ups).

Regardless, criticism continues to be aimed at the group with mainstream media coverage typically restrained and thin on the ground.

This year’s meeting and previous eventualities

This year’s hot favourite to go from unknown politician to head honcho within their own national ranks is Swedish Centre Party leader Annie Lööf.

She attended last year’s meeting in Chantilly, Virginia and has quickly risen to become one of the front-runners in Sweden’s political elite with an eye on upcoming elections in September this year.

Her critics have said her rise to the top of Swedish politics is likely assured by way of elitist influence exerted by the power brokers behind the Bilderberg Group.

Swedish Centre Party leader Annie Lööf

Swedish Centre Party leader Annie Lööf.

Pragmatically speaking, there could be some truth to their claims.

High profile attendees to the Bilderberg Group have coincidentally attained high political titles soon after attending such as Bill Clinton in 1991, George Bush in 1989, Tony Blair in 1993 and Gerald Ford in 1967.

From an ideological point of view, several agendas have made consistent progress towards ubiquity on a global scale (transhumanism, genetic modification, economic monopolisation, media censorship, mass surveillance and centralised global banking) while historically-famous issues continue to go unsolved such as world poverty, third-world debt, income inequality, rampant elitism and possibly most worrying of all, the horrific escalation of autoimmune diseases and various cancers especially in wealthier countries.

The health agenda is a huge elephant in the room that continues being dismissed as a sign of the times and merely an unfortunate side-effect of modern prosperity that affects the minority; but critics claim that “big pharma” is largely responsible for the debilitating health effects wreaking havoc on communities around the world – to the extent that 1 in 3 people will develop cancer in modern “developed” societies.

Conspiracy theory or conspiracy fact?

The definition of ‘conspiracy’ is a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. By that definition, there are conspiracies currently in progress on millions of street corners, homes and offices globally.

The big kahuna conspiracy accusations being levied at the Bilderberg Group are unlikely to be revealed in a public ‘eureka’ moment simply because such a reveal is deemed impossible.

The world’s media is supposed to be muzzled thereby preventing such a reveal, while a mainstream audience that does not stray from the mainstream narrative will not believe so-called “conspiracy theories” unless they are reported on the TV evening news and in their morning papers.

As former US President Richard Nixon once said, “The American people don’t believe anything until they see it on television.”

Whether it be a conspiracy theory or conspiracy fact, the Bilderberg Group will continue to meet at its discretion, with its attendants being the most elite individuals from world business, politics and royalty.

Meanwhile, the issues the group portends to be discussing (or solving) continue to rumble on causing havoc in societies around the world.

Like it or not, but just like in previous years, conspiracy theorists and realists alike will be picking through scant information coming out from this weekend’s Bilderberg meeting while mainstream media sources will barely report on the event, its attendees or its discussion topics.

Most news sources are likely to report a dismissive narrative that palms off the event as a gloried gentlemen’s club where cigar-toting old fogeys compare their Bentley collections while lording over their superior portfolio management skills.

2018 Bilderberg Group attendee list


Castries, Henri de (FRA), Chairman, Institut Montaigne


Achleitner, Paul M. (DEU), Chairman Supervisory Board, Deutsche Bank AG; Treasurer, Foundation Bilderberg Meetings

Agius, Marcus (GBR), Chairman, PA Consulting Group

Alesina, Alberto (ITA), Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Economics, Harvard University

Altman, Roger C. (USA), Founder and Senior Chairman, Evercore

Amorim, Paula (PRT), Chairman, Américo Amorim Group

Anglade, Dominique (CAN), Deputy Premier of Quebec; Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation

Applebaum, Anne (POL), Columnist, Washington Post; Professor of Practice, London School of Economics

Azoulay, Audrey (INT), Director-General, UNESCO

Baker, James H. (USA), Director, Office of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Barbizet, Patricia (FRA), President, Temaris & Associés

Barroso, José M. Durão (PRT), Chairman, Goldman Sachs International; Former President, European Commission

Beerli, Christine (CHE), Former Vice-President, International Committee of the Red Cross

Berx, Cathy (BEL), Governor, Province of Antwerp

Beurden, Ben van (NLD), CEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc

Blanquer, Jean-Michel (FRA), Minister of National Education, Youth and Community Life

Botín, Ana P. (ESP), Group Executive Chairman, Banco Santander

Bouverot, Anne (FRA), Board Member; Former CEO, Morpho

Brandtzæg, Svein Richard (NOR), President and CEO, Norsk Hydro ASA

Brende, Børge (INT), President, World Economic Forum

Brennan, Eamonn (IRL), Director General, Eurocontrol

Brnabic, Ana (SRB), Prime Minister

Burns, William J. (USA), President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Burwell, Sylvia M. (USA), President, American University

Caracciolo, Lucio (ITA), Editor-in-Chief, Limes

Carney, Mark J. (GBR), Governor, Bank of England

Castries, Henri de (FRA), Chairman, Institut Montaigne; Chairman, Steering Committee Bilderberg Meetings

Cattaneo, Elena (ITA), Director, Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, University of Milan

Cazeneuve, Bernard (FRA), Partner, August Debouzy; Former Prime Minister

Cebrián, Juan Luis (ESP), Executive Chairman, El País

Champagne, François-Philippe (CAN), Minister of International Trade

Cohen, Jared (USA), Founder and CEO, Jigsaw at Alphabet Inc.

Colao, Vittorio (ITA), CEO, Vodafone Group

Cook, Charles (USA), Political Analyst, The Cook Political Report

Dagdeviren, Canan (TUR), Assistant Professor, MIT Media Lab

Donohoe, Paschal (IRL), Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform

Döpfner, Mathias (DEU), Chairman and CEO, Axel Springer SE

Ecker, Andrea (AUT), Secretary General, Office Federal President of Austria

Elkann, John (ITA), Chairman, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Émié, Bernard (FRA), Director General, Ministry of the Armed Forces

Enders, Thomas (DEU), CEO, Airbus SE

Fallows, James (USA), Writer and Journalist

Ferguson, Jr., Roger W. (USA), President and CEO, TIAA

Ferguson, Niall (USA), Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Fischer, Stanley (USA), Former Vice-Chairman, Federal Reserve; Former Governor, Bank of Israel

Gilvary, Brian (GBR), Group CFO, BP plc

Goldstein, Rebecca (USA), Visiting Professor, New York University

Gruber, Lilli (ITA), Editor-in-Chief and Anchor “Otto e mezzo”, La7 TV

Hajdarowicz, Greg (POL), Founder and President, Gremi International Sarl

Halberstadt, Victor (NLD), Professor of Economics, Leiden University; Chairman Foundation Bilderberg Meetings

Hassabis, Demis (GBR), Co-Founder and CEO, DeepMind

Hedegaard, Connie (DNK), Chair, KR Foundation; Former European Commissioner

Helgesen, Vidar (NOR), Ambassador for the Ocean

Herlin, Antti (FIN), Chairman, KONE Corporation

Hickenlooper, John (USA), Governor of Colorado

Hobson, Mellody (USA), President, Ariel Investments LLC

Hodgson, Christine (GBR), Chairman, Capgemini UK plc

Hoffman, Reid (USA), Co-Founder, LinkedIn; Partner, Greylock Partners

Horowitz, Michael C. (USA), Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

Hwang, Tim (USA), Director, Harvard-MIT Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative

Ischinger, Wolfgang (INT), Chairman, Munich Security Conference

Jacobs, Kenneth M. (USA), Chairman and CEO, Lazard

Kaag, Sigrid (NLD), Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation

Karp, Alex (USA), CEO, Palantir Technologies

Kissinger, Henry A. (USA), Chairman, Kissinger Associates Inc.

Kleinfeld, Klaus (USA), CEO, NEOM

Knot, Klaas H.W. (NLD), President, De Nederlandsche Bank

Koç, Ömer M. (TUR), Chairman, Koç Holding A.S.

Köcher, Renate (DEU), Managing Director, Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research

Kotkin, Stephen (USA), Professor in History and International Affairs, Princeton University

Kragic, Danica (SWE), Professor, School of Computer Science and Communication, KTH

Kravis, Henry R. (USA), Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, KKR

Kravis, Marie-Josée (USA), Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; President, American Friends of Bilderberg

Kudelski, André (CHE), Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group

Lepomäki, Elina (FIN), MP, National Coalition Party

Leyen, Ursula von der (DEU), Federal Minster of Defence

Leysen, Thomas (BEL), Chairman, KBC Group

Makan, Divesh (USA), CEO, ICONIQ Capital

Massolo, Giampiero (ITA), Chairman, Fincantieri Spa.; President, ISPI

Mazzucato, Mariana (ITA), Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, University College London

Mead, Walter Russell (USA), Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute

Michel, Charles (BEL), Prime Minister

Micklethwait, John (USA), Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg LP

Minton Beddoes, Zanny (GBR), Editor-in-Chief, The Economist

Mitsotakis, Kyriakos (GRC), President, New Democracy Party

Mota, Isabel (PRT), President, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Moyo, Dambisa F. (USA), Global Economist and Author

Mundie, Craig J. (USA), President, Mundie & Associates

Neven, Hartmut (USA), Director of Engineering, Google Inc.

Noonan, Peggy (USA), Author and Columnist, The Wall Street Journal

Oettinger, Günther H. (INT), Commissioner for Budget & Human Resources, European Commission

O’Leary, Michael (IRL), CEO, Ryanair D.A.C.

O’Neill, Onora (GBR), Emeritus Honorary Professor in Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Osborne, George (GBR), Editor, London Evening Standard

Özkan, Behlül (TUR), Associate Professor in International Relations, Marmara University

Papalexopoulos, Dimitri (GRC), CEO, Titan Cement Company S.A.

Parolin, H.E. Pietro (VAT), Cardinal and Secretary of State

Patino, Bruno (FRA), Chief Content Officer, Arte France TV

Petraeus, David H. (USA), Chairman, KKR Global Institute

Pichette, Patrick (CAN), General Partner, iNovia Capital

Pouyanné, Patrick (FRA), Chairman and CEO, Total S.A.

Pring, Benjamin (USA), Co-Founder and Managing Director, Center for the Future of Work

Rankka, Maria (SWE), CEO, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce

Ratas, Jüri (EST), Prime Minister

Rendi-Wagner, Pamela (AUT), MP (SPÖ); Former Minister of Health

Rivera Díaz, Albert (ESP), President, Ciudadanos Party

Rossi, Salvatore (ITA), Senior Deputy Governor, Bank of Italy

Rubesa, Baiba A. (LVA), CEO, RB Rail AS

Rubin, Robert E. (USA), Co-Chairman Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Treasury Secretary

Rudd, Amber (GBR), MP; Former Secretary of State, Home Department

Rutte, Mark (NLD), Prime Minister

Sabia, Michael (CAN), President and CEO, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

Sadjadpour, Karim (USA), Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Sáenz de Santamaría, Soraya (ESP), Deputy Prime Minister

Sawers, John (GBR), Chairman and Partner, Macro Advisory Partners

Schadlow, Nadia (USA), Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy

Schneider-Ammann, Johann N. (CHE), Federal Councillor

Scholten, Rudolf (AUT), President, Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue

Sikorski, Radoslaw (POL), Senior Fellow, Harvard University; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Poland

Simsek, Mehmet (TUR), Deputy Prime Minister

Skartveit, Hanne (NOR), Political Editor, Verdens Gang

Stoltenberg, Jens (INT), Secretary General, NATO

Summers, Lawrence H. (USA), Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University

Thiel, Peter (USA), President, Thiel Capital

Topsøe, Jakob Haldor (DNK), Chairman, Haldor Topsøe Holding A/S

Turpin, Matthew (USA), Director for China, National Security Council

Wahlroos, Björn (FIN), Chairman, Sampo Group, Nordea Bank, UPM-Kymmene Corporation

Wallenberg, Marcus (SWE), Chairman, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB

Woods, Ngaire (GBR), Dean, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University

Yetkin, Murat (TUR), Editor-in-chief, Hürriyet Daily News

Zeiler, Gerhard (AUT), President, Turner International

Connecting the dots

The Bilderberg Group’s connections to governments, major corporations and global think tanks (click on image to enlarge):

Bilderberg Group chart