Bilderburg, Germany — The European Union’s annual gathering of leaders and officials is expected to attract a record number of speakers this year, but a slew of high-profile speakers will miss out.
Among those scheduled to speak at the annual meeting, two prominent conservative figures have announced they will not be attending.
On Monday, conservative German chancellor Angela Merkel was set to speak, but the meeting will now be split between two speakers, one from the United States and the other from Britain, the German newspaper Bild reported.
On Thursday, German President Joachim Gauck will speak, and German media reported that other European leaders, including the British prime minister, will also be scheduled to participate.
While the main participants in the conference will be invited to Germany, attendees from other countries will be allowed to attend.
The leaders’ decision to cancel their appearances comes as the world has been caught up in a series of political crises, including a rise in anti-Semitism, the rise of populism, and the election of Donald Trump, a far-right populist who is also popular in the U.S. In recent weeks, Trump has called for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and has said that the United Nations should be disbanded.
In his first address to Congress since becoming president, Trump called the Paris climate accord “one of the greatest mistakes of this generation.”
A series of events in Germany, including an anti-immigration rally by Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the first wave of marches by far-left groups, have sparked protests in the country.
In response, Gauck and other German leaders have called for a united front against anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment.
The United States is not one of the three main participants at the Bilderland meeting.