Introductory Remarks to the Council by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, 12 November, Paris, France
It is my great honour to introduce the Prime Minister of Latvia, Mr. Valdis Dombrovskis. Since taking office in 2009, Prime Minister Dombrovskis has drawn on his considerable experience as an economist and former Finance Minister to lead his country in its recovery from the effects of the global financial crisis. And we are glad to note that this hard work is already beginning to pay off.
OECD accession will contribute to that continuing recovery by acting as a catalyst for reflection and further reform. The decision in May to open accession discussions and the adoption of the Accession Roadmap on 15 October were the first milestones on the path of Latvia towards OECD membership.
The choice of Latvia as an accession candidate was well-deserved. Your country, Mr. Prime Minister, is already integrated into the work of our Organisation in a number of areas and adheres to key OECD instruments including the Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises. It has recently become a Member of the Working Group on Bribery, and earlier this year it requested its adherence to the Codes of Liberalisation and the Guidelines on State-Owned Enterprises.
All of this will stand Latvia in good stead for the challenges of the accession process, which will constitute a 360 degree in-depth review by 21 expert committees against OECD standards and best practices. But as we always point out, this process should not be seen as an examination to be passed or failed. It is indeed an opportunity for your country to come up to speed with regards to best practices and to ensure that your economy delivers the best results for all Latvians.
I am sure that throughout this process you will learn a lot from the expertise of our member countries. We also look forward to enrich OECD’s shared pool of best practices with Latvia’s own experience.
The visit of the Prime Minister today is a measure of the importance attached by Latvia to OECD accession, as well as the personal commitment of the Prime Minister himself. Given the complexity and breadth of the OECD accession process, high-level political leadership is of the utmost importance. In this regard, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for taking the time to join us today and, without further ado, I am pleased to give him the floor.