05/06/2016 - Seventy years ago, at Harvard University, U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall launched a European Recovery Plan that would soon be known by his name.
The Marshall Plan was radical not only in its generosity but in its break with the world order that predated it. Seventy years later, it still shines as one of history’s most successful examples of forward-looking vision and international solidarity and collaboration. After two devastating wars, Marshall’s insight was that the only way to avoid future conflicts was to strengthen international co-operation – and that nations with the means and the resolve to restore prosperity must lead the way.
Among the fruits of that insight was the establishment of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) in 1948, later transformed in 1961 into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which for more than 56 years has worked with governments to promote international co-operation and improve their economic and social policies. The world has changed a lot since that 5 June 1947, and the OECD has evolved with it. Today we are more global, more inclusive, more plural and more relevant. But we are still faithful to our original mission: to safeguard the well-being of our citizens, through “economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace,” in Marshall’s very own words.
On this special date, I would like to draw from the wisdom that inspired the Marshall Plan and pledge to work hand-in-hand with our Member and Partner countries to address the many problems that our societies confront. No solution will come in isolation: collectively, we can bring about a more inclusive, rules-based globalisation that works for all.