Hotel de Bilderberg, site of the first conference

Hotel de Bilderberg, site of the first conference

The Bilderberg Group, an organization of European and North American elites from business and politics, has announced its 2016 meeting will take place June 9-12 in Dresden, Germany.

Bilderberg meetings occur annually at hotels or resorts in Europe or North America. The meetings are closed to the public, and members of the press who are invited to attend do not report on the conferences.

About 120-150 political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and media take part in the meetings, according to the official Bilderberg website. Approximately one third of the participants come from politics and government.

Critics say Bilderberg secretly influences government decisions and even allege it planned the creation of the European Union and the euro currency.

Bilderberg says its participants need privacy so they can share ideas without being bound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions.

The organization does not publish meeting agendas, but it does release a list of key topics that are discussed. Topics discussed at the 2015 conference in Telfs-Buchen, Austria included globalization, Greece, Iran, the Middle East, NATO, Russia, terrorism, the United Kingdom and the United States elections.

Bilderberg is governed by a steering committee, which is currently chaired by Henri de Castries, the CEO of French multinational insurance firm AXA. Other notable members of the steering committee include Paul Achleitner, the chairman of Deutsche Bank; Jose Manuel Barroso, the former President of the European Commission; and Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.

Some media had speculated the 2016 meeting would take place in North America. Bilderberg last met in North America in 2012 and 2008. Both of those conferences took place in Chantilly, Virginia during U.S. presidential election years.