OECD, Paris, 2 June 2016
Dear Secretary-General Mr. Gurria,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honor for me to be here today and to sign the accession agreement of Latvia to the OECD.
I am very grateful for the OECD’s recognition of the hard work that Latvia has carried out during our accession process. It is a privilege to become a member of this ‘club of best practices’.
Membership of the OECD has been Latvia’s ambition for the past twenty years. But membership itself has never been our singular goal. Our aim has been to join a group of like-minded nations that are ‘convinced that broader co-operation will make a vital contribution to peaceful and harmonious relations among the peoples of the world’, as expressed in the OECD Convention.
Latvia fully recognizes that this privilege comes with responsibilities.
The accession process has already made an impact – it has been the driving force behind the reform of governance of state-owned enterprises. It has also served as an additional stimulus to improve our capacity in the fight against bribery in international business transactions.
As I and members of my government have said many times - this is only the beginning. We still have a lot of work ahead, and we hope to continue to benefit from the expertise that our friends around this table provide. I am convinced that success in one area depends upon our achievements in others. Our economies can improve if we make development inclusive and create synergies between education, healthcare and welfare systems. A robust and trusted institutional and legal framework is a prerequisite for our economic development.
We are committed to participating in the OECD’s search for answers to global challenges. We look forward to contributing to the priorities discussed during this Ministerial meeting – how to revive the growth of our economies in a responsible, inclusive and sustainable way, and how to effectively implement the commitments we have agreed upon.
As an OECD member, we also look forward to sharing our own experience and knowledge, which we have gained through our timely structural reforms to overcome the financial crisis of 2008-2009, as well as through our effective and innovative public sector governance.
In conclusion, I wish to thank the previous Latvian government, especially that of the current Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr. V. Dombrovskis, and the Latvian state administration, for initiating Latvia’s accession to the OECD. I would also like to sincerely thank all OECD members and the OECD Secretariat for the strong support and guidance throughout Latvia’s accession process. It has been a very valuable and stimulating experience.
Finally, let me assure you that Latvia will be an active OECD Member country and will work together with other partners in order to address current global challenges.
» See also the remarks by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría