Organisation for European Economic Co-operation
The Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) was formed in 1948 to administer American and Canadian aid in the framework of the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. It started its operations on 16 April 1948, and originated from the work done by the Committee of European Economic Co-operation in 1947 in preparation for the Marshall Plan. Since 1949, it was headquartered in the Château de la Muette in Paris, France. After the Marshall Plan ended, the OEEC focused on economic issues.
In the 1950s, the OEEC provided the framework for negotiations aimed at determining conditions for setting up a European Free Trade Area, to bring the of the six and the other OEEC members together on a multilateral basis. In 1958, a European Nuclear Energy Agency was set up under the OEEC.
By the end of the 1950s, with the job of rebuilding Europe effectively done, some leading countries felt that the OEEC had outlived its purpose, but could be adapted to fulfill a more global mission. It would be a hard-fought task, and after several sometimes fractious meetings at the Hotel Majestic in Paris starting in January 1960, a resolution was reached to create a body that would deal not only with European and Atlantic economic issues, but devise policies to assist less developed countries. This reconstituted organisation would bring the US and Canada, who were already OEEC observers, on board as full members. It would also set to work straight away on bringing in Japan.
Following the 1957 Rome Treaties to launch the , the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development was drawn up to reform the OEEC. The Convention was signed in December 1960 and the OECD officially superseded the OEEC in September 1961. It consisted of the European founder countries of the OEEC plus the United States and Canada, with Japan joining three years later. The official founding members are:
- West Germany
- The Netherlands
- United Kingdom
- United States
During the next 12 years Japan, Finland, Australia, and New Zealand also joined the organisation. Yugoslavia had observer status in the organisation starting with the establishment of the OECD until its dissolution as a country.
The OECD created agencies such as the OECD Development Centre (1961), International Energy Agency (IEA, 1974), and Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.
Unlike the organisations of the United Nations system, OECD uses the spelling "organisation" with an "s" in its name rather than "organization" (see -ise/-ize).
Enlargement to Central Europe
In 1989, after the Revolutions of 1989, the OECD started to assist countries in Central Europe (especially the Visegrád Group) to prepare market economy reforms. In 1990, the Centre for Co-operation with European Economies in Transition (now succeeded by the Centre for Cooperation with Non-Members) was established, and in 1991, the Programme "Partners in Transition" was launched for the benefit of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland. This programme also included a membership option for these countries. As a result of this, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, as well as Mexico and South Korea became members of the OECD between 1994 and 2000.
Reform and further enlargement
In the 1990s, a number of European countries, now members of the European Union, expressed their willingness to join the organisation. In 1995, Cyprus applied for membership, but, according to the Cypriot government, it was vetoed by Turkey. In 1996, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania signed a Joint Declaration expressing willingness to become full members of the OECD. Slovenia also applied for membership that same year. In 2005, Malta applied to join the organisation. The EU is lobbying for admission of all EU member states. Romania reaffirmed in 2012 its intention to become a member of the organisation through the letter addressed by the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta to OECD Secretary-General José Ángel Gurría. In September 2012, the government of Bulgaria confirmed it will apply for full membership before the OECD Secretariat.
In 2003, the OECD established a working group headed by Japan's Ambassador to the OECD Seiichiro Noboru to work out a strategy for the enlargement and co-operation with non-members. The working group proposed that the selection of candidate countries to be based on four criteria: "like-mindedness", "significant player", "mutual benefit" and "global considerations". The working group's recommendations were presented at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting on 13 and 14 May 2004. Based on these recommendations work, the meeting adopted an agreement on operationalisation of the proposed guidelines and on the drafting of a list of countries suitable as potential candidates for membership. As a result of this work, on 16 May 2007, the OECD Ministerial Council decided to open accession discussions with Chile, Estonia, Israel, Russia and Slovenia and to strengthen co-operation with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa through a process of enhanced engagement. Chile, Slovenia, Israel and Estonia all became members in 2010. In March 2014, the OECD halted membership talks with Russia in response to its role in the 2014 Crimean crisis.
In 2013, the OECD decided to open membership talks with Colombia and Latvia. In 2015, it opened talks with Costa Rica and Lithuania. Latvia became a full member on 1 July 2016. Colombia and Lithuania signed the accession agreement on 30 May 2018. They will become full members after the ratification of the accession agreement and the deposition of the ratification document.
Other countries that have expressed interest in OECD membership are Argentina, Peru, Malaysia, Brazil and Croatia.