Remarks by Angel Gurría
Special Session of the Council
9 June 2016
(As prepared for delivery )
Dear Prime Minister, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to welcome Prime Minister Cioloş to this Special Session of the OECD Council.
Prime Minister Cioloş’ leadership and vision are very important in guiding Romania’s interim government until the legislative elections at the end of this year. Among the main goals of his government are rebuilding trust, increasing transparency and integrity, and implementing structural reforms to achieve more resilient growth and higher living standards for all Romanians.
This agenda is very close to the key objectives of many OECD governments.
More specifically, under Europe 2020 Strategy, Romania is striving to upgrade the skills of its workforce, reduce the population at risk of poverty, improve health, further develop its agriculture, and further strengthen public governance.
Romania has the capacity to rise up to these challenges. Its economy is performing well, despite facing economic headwinds since 2008. Romania is enjoying macro-economic stability and a high pace of growth at 3.8% in 2015 and an estimated 4.2% in 2016, fuelled by fiscal relaxation and surging domestic demand. This is one of the best performances among the countries of the European Union.
Prime Minister Cioloş’ visit today is a testimony to the importance Romania attaches to its relationship with the OECD. Let me turn to the fruitful history of our co-operation with Romania. We have been working hand in hand helping Romania complete its historic transition from a centrally planned to a market economy. In the more recent years, the OECD has been supporting Romania improve its business climate and foster private sector development in the framework of our Regional Programme for South East Europe.
In 2004, Romania became a member of the OECD Development Centre, where OECD and non-OECD countries come to share their experience of economic and social development policies on an equal footing.
Collaboration has also expanded over the years in the framework of OECD legal instruments and different bodies. Romania is active in various policy areas, including agriculture and trade, fiscal affairs, international investment and multinational enterprises, competition, shipbuilding and maritime transport. Romania also participates in more than 40 OECD bodies and initiatives, the largest number among South East Europe partners.
In the area of competition, the OECD, jointly with the Romanian Competition Council and the Prime Minister’s Office, recently completed the Competition Assessment of Romania, using our Toolkit to identify regulatory barriers to competition in three key sectors – transport, food processing and construction. Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi will travel to Bucharest at the end of this month to publically launch the final report of this very important initiative, and I hope, Prime Minister, that you will also be able to join this event.
Furthermore, Romania has been actively pursuing opportunities for co-operation on public governance and anti-bribery reforms, including through its active engagement with the OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. We have also discussed potential inclusion of Romania in OECD projections and the OECD Economic Outlook. Romania and our Nuclear Energy Agency are also co-operating in the framework of a review of nuclear waste policies.
Ladies and gentlemen,
These are only a few examples of our fruitful collaboration with Romania, which are intended to support Romania further reflect and reform its domestic policy agenda, as well as provide an opportunity for Romania to ensure that its economy delivers the best results for its citizens by leveraging OECD knowledge and expertise.
Going forward, the OECD stands ready to further deepen and broaden its relationship with Romania. Adherence to OECD instruments, international comparisons, peer learning and peer pressure can help a country move faster towards its own policy priorities. The OECD stamp of approval also carries an intangible value. People and businesses trust governments that are transparent, fair and innovative.
The OECD can help you earn that trust.
At the same time, the OECD too has much to gain from Romania’s experiences in its peer dialogue in the framework of OECD bodies and initiatives. Romania can also play a leading role in the OECD’s engagement with South East Europe and support our efforts to further strengthen the OECD Programme for the region.
We very much look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration with Romania.
Please count on us as you lead the reform processes that you have charted in order to ensure better lives for the citizens of your country. Without further ado, it is with great pleasure that I now turn the floor to you.