Introductory Remarks to the Council by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General
12 November 2013 – 12h00
It is my great honour to introduce the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė. I am very pleased to return the President the warm hospitality I was extended at her country during my visit to Vilnius on 13-14 September to participate at an informal ECOFIN meeting.
At our last MCM, our Ministers agreed to work closely with Lithuania to review the situation in 2015 with a view to taking a decision regarding accession of her country to the OECD. President Grybauskaitè is here today to transmit her personal commitment to strengthening Lithuania’s relationship with the Organisation to arrive to the 2015 benchmark in good shape.
Her broad understanding of the value of the OECD is reflected in Lithuania’s adherence to an increasing number of OECD instruments. Since last April, Lithuania has adhered to the OECD Council Recommendation on Principles for Internet Policy Making, the Declaration on Green Growth and the PIT (Declaration on Propriety, Integrity and Transparency in the Conduct of International Business and Finance).
Lithuania will also adhere in the coming days to the Declaration on Base Erosion on Profit Shifting (BEPS) as well as the Seoul Declaration for the Future of the Internet Economy. These are further steps as Lithuania advances its relationship with the OECD by gradually completing the Action Plan, which was approved by her Government on 25 September 2013.
Mrs. Grybauskaitè is a remarkable President, currently leading Lithuania’s chairmanship of the Council of the European Union. As her country’s first female president, she has led Lithuania through a significant transformation through structural reforms. This is certainly paying off: Lithuania has had one of the fastest economic growth rates in Europe during the last few years, and is continuously ranked as one of the countries with a most favourable business climate.
President Grybauskaitè carries a broad political consensus in favour of an open economy policy, and is committed to increase competitiveness in her country. She is also a strong advocate for energy security in the region, which she supports when wearing both her national and European hats. She has also worked on promoting education, an area where her country spends 5.6% of GDP, one of the highest ratios in Europe.
These are just a few examples of a much larger list of achievements. I am always pleased when we welcome the Leaders of countries that show such a strong interest on getting closer and closer to this house of best practices that is the OECD. But I am double-pleased that this is the second time in less than a week that we have the opportunity of welcoming a woman leader, following the visit by President Chinchilla from Costa Rica last week.
Madame President, the floor is yours to share with us your reflections!