Opening statement at OECD Ministerial Council Meeting

Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt's opening address at the OECD Ministerial council meeting in Paris.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt gives her statement at the OECD Ministerial council meeting. Credit: OECD delegation
Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt gives her statement at the OECD Ministerial council meeting. Credit: OECD delegation

Distinguished colleagues,

I am extremely honoured to address you here in my role as Vice-chair.

I don’t know what you did in your twenties. But I spent three of the best years of my life studying the history of the OECD.

Or more specific, the OECD in the year 1961. When OEEC, created to implement the Marshall aid into Europe, was transformed into the global OECD as we know it today. And co-chair Luigi: Luckily for me, the OECD archives are located in beautiful Florence. 

Even when this organisation was established, we knew that the key to peace and stability was economic growth and employment. Based on best practices, and knowledge based economic and statistic models.

And also, assistance to less developed countries outside the OECD. We were 20 countries in 1961. Today we are 38. We welcome the willingness of candidate countries to join us in promoting better policies based on our common knowledge, and our common interests.

Today we know that the values OECD are built upon are under attack by Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. 

We stand by the people of Ukraine in their enormous suffering. And we will stand by Ukraine as they rebuild.

We need a new Marshall plan just like how Canada and United State did rebuild Europe after the Second World war. But as the donors those days understood; reconstruction is not only a matter of money and will. 

Good governance, anticorruption, a reliable tax system are all preconditions for sustainable economic development in all countries, also in Ukraine. 

As advanced democracies we all know how critical independent reviews of our

  • economic policies,
  • of our schools,
  • of our health systems

are for informed political priorities.

At the same time, we face an increasing skepticism and reluctance towards experts. We see this with the Covid pandemic. And for many years we have seen numerous people rejecting the science and knowledge of climate change. 

So more than ever, since this organisation was established after the Second World War, we must highlight the necessity for independent reviews of our political priorities.

More than ever we need international cooperation.

The attack on Ukraine has been an eye opener. We need to protect our common political, security and economic architecture.

We need a stronger OECD.