Remarks by Angel Gurría
OECD, Paris - 09 April 2018
(As prepared for delivery)
President Grybauskaitė, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my honour and pleasure to welcome you to the OECD today, President Grybauskaitė, at this exciting time when Lithuania is nearing the conclusion of the accession process to the OECD and is celebrating the centenary of its statehood.
We look forward to benefitting from the wisdom and the rich experience acquired throughout your distinguished career as a scholar, diplomat, and politician. Indeed, before becoming the President of Lithuania you have represented Lithuania as a diplomat including to the EU and the US, served as the Minister of Finance and vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as taking care of the EU budget as the EU Commissioner, earning the title of Commissioner of the year for your efforts to reform the EU budget in 2005.
Lithuania and the OECD have been strengthening their relationship ever since the launch of the OECD’s Baltic Regional Programme twenty years ago, in 1998. Lithuania’s intention and aspiration to become a member of the OECD was embedded in the relationship from the beginning - in the Baltic countries’ request for a dedicated programme for cooperation with the OECD in 1996.
And it was three years ago to the date, in 9th of April 2015, when the Council decided to open accession discussions with Lithuania.
In these three short years, your government has made impressive strides, with only two outstanding reviews remaining – a discussion in the Corporate Governance Committee and written procedure in the EDRC – out of the 21 comprehensive assessments carried out by OECD’s substantive committees encompassing areas as diverse as environment, corporate governance and investment. Both remaining reviews are scheduled to take place this week.
Throughout the accession process, your government, Madam President, has acted with great resolve and speed to the recommendations of our bodies with changes in legislation, regulations or policy.
These reforms were hard-won, and demonstrate your government’s determination to fully align itself with OECD standards and best practices. In particular:
But Lithuania’s accession process has not only been a catalyst for impressive reforms within Lithuania. It has been a valuable exercise for OECD Members. They have all been able to learn from Lithuania’s experience and expertise in areas such as economic transition and convergence and in more specialized fields such as statistical policy. In demonstrating the concrete results which can be achieved through peer review, the accession process has also confirmed the value of this tool as a cornerstone of OECD’s work.
Dear President Grybauskaitė, keep counting on us to deliver better policies for better lives in Lithuania and around the world. I now look forward to hearing your personal take on your governments achievements to date and about your future reform agenda. The floor is yours.