2 June 2016
OECD Headquarters, Paris
» See also the remarks by Mr. Māris Kučinskis, Prime Minister of Latvia
2 June 2016 - Signature of the Accession Agreement with Latvia. OECD Headquarters, Paris.
Photo: OECD/Hervé Cortinat
It is a great honour to welcome the Prime Minister of Latvia, Mr. Māris Kučinskis to the OECD for this historic occasion – the signing of the Agreement on the Terms of Accession of the Republic of Latvia to the OECD Convention. I am also delighted that the Minister of Finance, Ms Dana Reizniece-Ozola, the Latvian Ambassador H.E. Mr. Imants Viesturs Lieģis, and the Vice-President of the European Commission on Euro and Social Dialogue Mr. Valdis Dombrovskis, are present to witness this great moment for both Latvia and for the OECD. It was Mr. Dombrovskis who, when he was Prime Minister of Latvia, launched the accession process, so it is particularly fitting and welcome that he is here to see its completion.
The signing of the Accession Agreement is a time for celebration. Three years ago, on 29 May 2013, Council made the decision to open accession discussions with Latvia. Since then Latvia has been reviewed by 21 technical OECD committees. These committees have assessed Latvia's willingness and ability to implement the OECD's substantive legal instruments – in fields from environment to corporate governance to investment – and evaluated its policies and practices against OECD best policies and practices.
The recommendations made in the course of the accession process have been a catalyst for impressive reforms within Latvia, on the corporate governance of state-owned enterprises, anti-money laundering measures, and investment liberalisation to name just a few. Latvia has shown itself to be a dedicated and innovative reformer and I commend it on the significant progress that has been made in such a short period of time. These actions will support Latvia's domestic policy agenda and provide a strong basis for ensuring that its economy delivers the best possible results for Latvia and its citizens.
As the OECD's newest member, Latvia will be able to tap into the vast reservoir of OECD expertise to continue to meet its domestic policy goals. For more than 50 years the OECD has been a forum in which governments work together, finding evidence-based solutions to the issues of the day, sharing experiences, and identifying “best practices”. At the same time, the OECD will become different – and better – as a result of Latvia's membership. We will benefit from Latvia's unique experiences, from the presence of a new voice and a new outlook as we move forward, setting new global standards on the issues that face us today and will confront us in the future.
I warmly congratulate the Prime Minister – and Latvia – on this momentous achievement. And I look forward to welcoming Latvia soon as the 35th member of the OECD!