Remarks by Angel Gurría
OECD, France - 06 April 2018
(As prepared for delivery)
Dear Minister Meleşcanu, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my honour to welcome you to the OECD today, Minister Meleşcanu, and benefit from your wisdom and rich experience as a senator, statesman, diplomat and scholar. You have, indeed, been Minister of Foreign Affairs in different governments, Minister of Defence, Vice-Chair of the Senate, a university professor, member and chair of European and International academies and commissions, and even a Doctor honoris causa of the Institute for Diplomatic Studies of Mexico, my home country.
Your visit to the OECD today follows on a series of exchanges of Council with Romanian heads of state and government. Many members present will remember the visit of Prime Minister Ciolos in 2016, but the Romanian dialogue with OECD Ambassadors dates back to 1997, when President Constantinescu addressed Council, followed by President Iliescu in 2003. From the 1990s, when the OECD had a country programme for Romania, till today, we have been deepening a mutually beneficial relationship building on trust, increasing like-mindedness and alignment of Romania’s policies with OECD standards.
Romania’s growth has significantly accelerated last year, reaching 6.7%, a post-crisis high. The recovery is fuelled by rising consumption, and is accompanied by low levels of unemployment (at 4.9% in 2017) and public debt (37.6% in 2016).
Important public policies and actions have borne fruit. Romania has bolstered major reforms: it has carried out strategic investments in transport, energy, and water, supported regional smart specialisation strategies, improved e-Government services, public procurement and access to healthcare. The time is right to build on this momentum of economic upswing and to step up structural reforms to continue improving competitiveness, fighting inequalities and strengthening governance.
Romania’s deepening engagement with the OECD over the last quarter of a century has been contributing to the transformation of the country and its economy. Romania is an Associate and Participant in 19 OECD bodies or projects, and adheres to 35 OECD legal instruments, including the MNE Guidelines. Romania is a member of the BEPS Inclusive Framework, participates in AEOI, and has also requested adherence to additional instruments, such as the OECD Codes of Liberalisation, the Anti-Bribery Convention and the Principles of Corporate Governance. Our engagement through the OECD South East Europe regional programme and the OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia is also strengthening.
But the OECD-Romania co-operation is a two-way street and learning opportunity. Romania’s transition process, accession to the EU and the progress in transposing OECD good practices in national reforms have yielded lessons and experiences of interest to the country, the region, but also some OECD members.
In December this year, Romania will celebrate the centennial of its independence. The OECD looks forward to working with you and for you in continuing to deliver better policies for better lives in the new century.
Minister Meleşcanu, the floor is yours. Thank you!