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Thursday, 15 December 2022

Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă welcomed by the OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann 

Press statements by Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă and OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann

 

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Mathias Cormann: /.../ I was in Bucharest early this year and also of course, after having engaged with each other quite extensively throughout the year, in the context of the accession process for Romania to the OECD.

Romania has been a close friend and a valued partner of the OECD for many, many years. Our cooperation began in the 1990s, we have worked together on many different economic and social policy areas ranging from capital market reforms to competition policies, education, health, and, of course, our cooperation on the OECD/G20 project on tax base erosion and profit shifting. Romania's economic performance in recent years has been very impressive.

Romania converged rapidly towards the OECD average per capita income, having halved the gap from 70% to around 35% in less than 20 years.

The share of the Romanian population at risk of poverty or social exclusion has fallen sharply, and Romania has made very good progress on its domestic reform agenda.

Romania continues to work very hard to anchor OECD values and to promote macro-based reforms beyond its borders, including in Moldova and Ukraine, as well as across Eurasia, South East Europe, and Africa.

Romania's priorities are very well aligned with the OECD agenda, promoting more inclusive growth, optimizing trade and investment, fostering innovation, protecting the environment, and fighting corruption, as well as optimizing education, health, and labor market policies. Prime Minister Ciucă and I had an opportunity to discuss these priorities when we launched the 2022 OECD Economic Survey of Romania earlier this year. Since my visit to Romania, the OECD members of course have adopted the roadmap for Romania's accession to the OECD, marking its first step in its formal accession process towards OECD membership.

Today, we take another step forward. The Prime Minister has provided me with Romania’s Initial Memorandum to move the technical phase of its accession process forward. The phase dis-phased now will include in-depth 360-degree assessments by 26 OECD technical committees of Romania’s legislation, policies, and practices and will cover almost every area of the Government’s policy.

We will deliver recommendations to help Romania align further with OECD standards and best practices to the benefit of the Romanian people.

As we have seen with previous accession candidate countries, the accession process is a positive transformation process that will help catalyze further reforms that benefit Romania and most importantly its citizens.

In light of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the global economic outlook has continued to worsen in recent months. Growth has lost momentum, confidence has weakened, inflation has become broad-based and persistent, real household income has weakened and financial conditions have become tainted.

I think we can all agree that a swift end to the war, with a just peace for Ukraine, consistent with international law, would be in everybody's best interest. So, as we navigate this profoundly challenging and disruptive period globally, we need more - not less - cooperation. We need more - not less - multilateralism. And institutions like the OECD will be important partners in defining, pursuing, and implementing multilateral solutions to our common challenges.

I thank Romania, and I thank you Prime Minister for your commitment to effective multilateralism and to strengthening global cooperation, we need to solve the evolving challenges of our time.  With that, Prime Minister, a very warm welcome again to you here at the OECD, and the floor is yours.

Nicolae –Ionel Ciucă: Bună ziua. Good afternoon.

Dear Secretary-General,

It is a special honor for me to be here today, both for meeting you and addressing the OECD Council. Taking into account that most of the press is from my country, I will speak in Romanian.

/.../Before the end of the year, we manage to hand over the initial memorandum. It is the end of the first stage and from now on it is the start of the part through which we will confirm technically and respond to all the aspects that will be presented to the specialized committees of the OECD for clarifications and to present the progress which we did in order to meet the OECD standards.

As aforementioned, it is a difficult year in a difficult international context, both in terms of security and from an economic point of view, and we, Romanians, know it very well, being in the vicinity of the war which Russia, unprovoked and illegally, is carrying against Ukraine. As such, in all the steps we have undertaken, we have taken into account that through this accession process we have the opportunity to work closely with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and we have the opportunity to learn and reform the entire society to OECD standards.

I want to emphasize the fact that since the very beginning, we wanted to mark this moment, not like yet another accession to an international organization. Through this approach, the Romanian Government committed along with the other institutions, and the Romanian citizens, to a modernization process, a transformation process, and a reform process at the level of the entire society. We are discussing a wide spectrum of fields: education, investments, competition, governance, environmental policies, public governance, and corporate governance. These are the fields that we have undertaken to modernize to the level of OECD standards. Practically, through everything we will do from now on, we hope to fit in with the OECD motto: better policies for better lives”.

I would like to thank you once again for all your support. I want to thank the OECD Secretary-General for helping us very much in the initial phase of drafting the procedures for the technical accession process and I want to thank especially Romania’s Embassy in Paris, Mr. Luca Niculescu, Secretary of State and directly in charge of the OECD accession process. Thank you and I look forward to seeing each other soon during the assessment process, in Bucharest. 



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