Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General
Ministerial Council Meeting Public Session on Accession
27 May 2010, OECD Headquarters, Paris, France
Mr. Chairman Prime Minister Berlusconi, Prime Minister Ansip, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Prime Minister Pahor, Minister Larrain,
Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are gathered here to celebrate the accession of four new member countries to the OECD. On 7 May 2010, Chile became the OECD’s first Member from South America. Three days later, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia were formally invited to become OECD Members. I am also very pleased to report that the accession process with the Russian Federation is now well underway.
These are momentous events, which open a new chapter in the history of our Organisation. They reflect a more open, more plural and inclusive OECD. These accessions are part of a broader process of global reach through which we are strengthening our collaboration with emerging and developing economies, and strategically engage with them through our regional activities on Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. This process also includes our Enhanced Engagement process with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa.
Accession to the OECD is an extremely rigorous and demanding process. Over the last three years, Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia have undergone in-depth reviews by up to 20 OECD Committees, which have scrutinised their policies in diverse fields, from investment to anti-corruption, from environment to fiscal affairs, from public governance to science and technology. The candidate countries have changed some parts of their legal framework, and improved practices to comply with OECD high standards. Indeed, the accession process has been a real catalyst for reform.
But these reforms were undertaken, not just because the OECD requested them, but first and foremost because they are in their own interest. They included:
- Full exchange of bank information for tax purposes and the improvement of the corporate governance in Chile.
- Liberalisation of market access for OECD Members in its financial services sector in Estonia.
- The adoption of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and improvement of IPR in Israel.
- Finally, Slovenia too adopted major legislation to improve its corporate governance framework for state-owned enterprises.
Indeed, for our new and prospective Members, the successful conclusion of the accession process is not the end of the road. In fact, it is just the beginning – as Members, each country will be able to tap into the vast policy experience and dialogue that the OECD can offer.
Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia will bring diverse and valuable policy perspectives and expertise to the OECD and we hope they will benefit from our Organisation.
These accessions come at a time when international co-operation, particularly on economic issues, is more important than ever. The economic and financial crisis has underlined the need for all economies to come together in order to find appropriate policy responses which can restore growth and confidence. We also face major global challenges such as climate change and the need for “green growth”. The OECD has firmly established its place in the global economic architecture as a forum where countries can come to share best practices, improve and coordinate policy-making and develop international standards to address international issues. It is gratifying that new countries – and successful reformers at that – recognise the value of our Organisation and wish to join us in our endeavours.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Our relevance lies in our diversity. We are honoured to have Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia as our partners and colleagues in building a stronger, cleaner and fairer world economy. I would like to congratulate each of these countries on all of their impressive achievements throughout the accession process. Our recognition goes to all those who have been involved in the accession processes for their leadership, dedication and hard work.
[Representatives of Estonia, Israel, Slovenia and Chile made their remarks. The Secretary-General took the floor at the very end again to present copies of the Council Decisions.]
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is now my honour and privilege to present to the Prime Ministers of Estonia, Israel and Slovenia a certified copy of the Council Decision to invite their country to become an OECD Member. Chile already received a copy earlier this year. May I ask you to give a round of applause for all four of our new Members.
Press conference on Accession, remarks by Angel Gurría