Relations between the Council of Europe (COE) and the OECD were initially formalised in 1962, following on the co-operation which existed between the COE and the OEEC. This co-operation has evolved significantly over the years. The COE Parliamentary Assembly provides a forum for parliamentarians from all OECD member countries to hold a yearly debate on the activities of the OECD.
Following the restructuring of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in 2011, the Assembly's Political Affairs and Democracy Committee is responsible for maintaining relations with the OECD since January 2012.
The annual debate on the activities of the OECD takes place in the framework of an “enlarged assembly” composed of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and delegations from national parliaments of non-European member States of the OECD: Australia, Canada, Chile, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States of America, as well as from the European Parliament.
To prepare the debate, the Political Affairs and Democracy Committee appoints one of its members to draft a report on the activities of the OECD. This involves a series of contacts with the OECD secretariat. The report is discussed in the Parliamentary Assembly in the autumn session each year. On that occasion, the OECD Secretary-General addresses the Assembly and answers questions put by the parliamentarians.
The preparation of the report provides the OECD with an opportunity to become aware of the parliamentarians' concerns, the nature and approach of which often differ from the points of view expressed by government representatives in committee meetings. At the same time, parliamentarians have the opportunity for direct contacts with the OECD secretariat and to be better informed of the nature of issues and work undertaken by the OECD.
The two Organisations differ greatly in their nature and methods of work. The COE is strongly focused on the deliberative role of the Parliamentary Assembly, which submits recommendations to the Council of Ministers on a wide range of issues. In spite of the differences, there is a vast body of work on common topics which is the subject of mutual co-operation and enrichment.
2012: Speech, 3 October, Strasbourg
2011: Speech, 5 October, Strasbourg
2010: Speech, 6th October, Strasbourg
2006: Address by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General at the meeting of the Enlarged Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France 4 October 2006 and Resolution of COE, Strasbourg
2004: Speech, Strasbourg