The Cold War has now ended. But in practically all respects there are more, not fewer, common problems - from trade to jobs, from monetary policy to investment, from ecological challenges to the task of promoting international security. It is hard to think of any major issue in either Europe or North America whose unilateral solution would not have repercussions for the other.
Thus the concept of a European-American forum has not been overtaken by time. The dialogue between these two regions is still - even increasingly - critical.
Character of meetings
- the broad cross-section of leading citizens that are assembled for nearly three days of informal and off-the-record discussion about topics of current concern especially in the fields of foreign affairs and the international economy;
- the strong feeling among participants that in view of the differing attitudes and experiences of the Western nations, there remains a clear need to further develop an understanding in which these concerns can be accommodated;
- the privacy of the meetings, which has no purpose other than to allow participants to speak their minds openly and freely.
Invitations to Bilderberg conferences are extended by the Chairman following consultation with the Steering Committee members. Participants are chosen for their experience, their knowledge, their standing and their contribution to the selected agenda.
There usually are about 120 participants of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America. About one-third are from government and politics, and two-thirds from finance, industry, labor, education, communications. Participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity.
Governance and Funding
The expenses of maintaining the small Secretariat of the Bilderberg meetings are covered wholly by private subscription. The hospitality costs of the annual meeting are the responsibility of the Steering Committee member(s) of the host country.