Lisbon to host secretive Bilderberg meeting of dignitaries

  • Lusa
  • 18 May 2023

Artificial Intelligence, the energy transition, industrial policy and trade, fiscal challenges and the banking system are other topics on the meeting's agenda.

The secretary-general of NATO, the president of the European Parliament and the heads of Ukrainian and European diplomacy are among the participants at the annual meeting promoted by the exclusive Bilderberg group that begins on Thursday in Lisbon, the organisation said.

Jens Stoltenberg, Roberta Metsola, Dmytro Kuleba and Josep Borrell, respectively, are on the list of participants at the meeting, which runs until Sunday in Lisbon, behind closed doors and without press coverage, in a place not specified by the organisers.

According to TV channel SIC Notícias, the meeting will take place in a hotel in the Alto de Santo Amaro area.

In a statement available on the Internet page of this restricted group, whose existence is shrouded in secrecy, the organisers point out that the 69th edition of this annual meeting has around 130 participants from 23 countries, including Portugal.

“As always, a diverse group of political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia, labour and the media has been invited,” say the organisers, also mentioning the 13 topics that will mark the discussions this year.

Among the topics for debate are transnational threats, Ukraine, Russia, China, Europe, India and the leadership of the United States.

Artificial Intelligence, the energy transition, industrial policy and trade, fiscal challenges and the banking system are other topics on the meeting’s agenda.

The list of participants disclosed by the Bilderberg club includes some Portuguese names, including the former prime minister and former president of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso, and the businessman and politician Francisco Pinto Balsemão, two representatives who belong or have belonged to the steering committee of the Bilderberg Club.

But there are more national participants, such as the lawyer José Luís Arnaut and several executive directors of companies (Feedzai, Galp, EDP).

Also on the list of participants are the names of the prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, the Spanish foreign minister, José Manuel Albares, and the prime minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen.

The Bilderberg group or club was founded in 1954 to “promote dialogue between Europe and North America” and is named after the hotel (in the Netherlands) where the first meeting was held.

All Bilderberg meetings follow the so-called ‘Chatham House Rule’, a rule according to which anyone attending the meetings can speak about the ideas shared at the meetings, as long as they do not identify the person who expressed them.

The organisers point out that around two thirds of the participants come from Europe, and the rest from North America.

Over the years, several Portuguese have taken part in these meetings: Francisco Pinto Balsemão (who left the group’s board of directors in 2015 passing his portfolio to Durão Barroso), António Costa, Jorge Sampaio, Vítor Constâncio, António Guterres, Pedro Santana Lopes, José Sócrates, António José Seguro, Paulo Portas, Fernando Medina and Maria Luís Albuquerque.

In June 1999, the town of Sintra hosted a meeting of the Bilderberg Group.

The latest edition of this meeting took place in Washington last June.