OECD and International Economy: Historical Overview

The Organization for European Economic Co-operation was formed after World War II, with the principal aim to administer the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe. OECD took over from the OEEC, when 20 countries signed the convention of its establishment, in 14th December 1960.

Today, 30 countries are members of OECD. Membership requires a country´s commitment to a market economy and a pluralistic democracy. In terms of economic development level, the OECD members are considered to be the most advanced countries for the world economy, since they produce two thirds of the world´s goods and services.

Greece is one of the 20 countries that first signed the convention of OECD´s establishment. The Ministry of National Economy and Economics is mainly responsible for our country´s  policy in OECD.

OECD member countries are (within parenthesis: the year of accession):  Austria (1961), Belgium (1961), Greece (1961), Denmark (1961), Canada (1961), Finland (1961), France (1961), Germany (1961), Norway (1961), The Netherlands (1961), Hungary (1996), Ireland (1961), Iceland (1961), Luxembourg (1961), Sweden (1961), Switzerland (1961), United Kingdom (1961), USA (1961), Italy (1962), Japan (1964), Australia (1971), Mexico (1994), Czech Republic (1995), Korea (1996), New Zealand (1973), Poland (1996), Portugal (1961), Slovak Republic (2000).

Furthermore OECD collaborates with 70 non member countries as well as with other international organizations.

OECD main activities involve research, analyses and publications covering a wide area of policies and subjects. Moreover OECD is recognized as, perhaps, the world´ s most, valid and reliable source of information and statistical documentation. Consequently its publications are often used for the development, implementation and evaluation of various policies.

OECD publications provide a widely respected framework on the basis of which international negotiations take place and, therefore, they are very influential at a world wide level, and for a significant length of time.

The importance of our country membership in OECD, and the opportunity to contribute to projects that affect long-term and large-scale policies, is evident.

OECD Bodies and Functional  Procedures

Each member country has one representative in the OECD Ministerial Council (plus one European Commission representative). The Council meets once yearly, in order to set priorities and discuss important and emerging issues.

Committees. OECD has been evolved into a multidisciplinary organization. A large number of Committees are dedicated to  key issues and employ significant decision making power within, of course, the strategic goals outlined by the Council. Within committees, representatives of the member countries exchange views and set priorities.

The Secretariat: It employs the permanent staff of OECD, and provides support to committees, while it serves as a link among committees and working groups. It is managed by the General Director, the Vice-Directors, as well as the Directors responsible for each subject area.

Working Groups. Delegates and expert groups review and contribute to the work of the Secretariat using as main criteria: the achievement of the initial objectives, the methodological and technical validity and reliability of the studies, as well as the practicality and possibility of implementing the results of each study in real problem solving situations. Following this evaluation, OECD studies are either published, or, reviewed by the Secretariat following the delegates’ proposals for improvement.

 Agricultural Sector and OECD

The Committee of Agriculture is responsible for work relevant to the Agricultural Sector’s main issues – existent and emerging. Also, the Committee holds meetings at ministerial level, where issues relevant to other sectors are also discussed and assessed.

Working Groups and meetings that take place under the Committee of Agriculture are:

  • Agricultural Policies and Markets Working Group (APM)
  • Joint Working Group for Agriculture and Trade
  • Joint Working Group for Agriculture and Environment
  • Cereals, Animal feed and Sugar group
  • Meat and Milk products group
  • Meetings for Implementation of International Standards in Fruit and Vegetables
  • Yearly meeting regarding the Certification of Seeds in International Trade

Very relevant is also the collaboration program for the biological sources management and sustainable agriculture, as well as activities and work undertaken by the Fisheries Committee.

In accordance with the general objectives of the Greek Ministry for Rural Development & Food, experts of the Agricultural Policy and Documentation Directorate participate actively in Committees and Working Groups of OECD, related to the role and responsibilities of the Directorate, namely: international relations and policies.

To fulfill this role, the Directorate’s experts participate in an international network consisted of members of other countries delegations. Within this framework, they collaborate with other delegates and share experiences, aiming at the continuous improvement in planning, implementation and final evaluation of policy strategies related to the sustainable development of the Agricultural and Food Sectors in Greece.

Contact: Dr. V. Karathanassi. E-mail: . Fax: (+30) 210 524 90 97

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