Romania’s accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is a strategic objective of the Romanian foreign policy, being included in the 2013-2016 government programme. Romania reaffirmed in 2012 its intention to become a member of the organisation through the letter addressed by the Romanian Prime-Minister Victor-Viorel Ponta to the OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurria.
Romania’s accession to the OECD depends on various issues:
- The organisation’s enlargement process. At the moment, the OECD is undergoing an internal reform process in order to simplify the decision-making process among its members and to review its global role in promoting sustainable development in the current context of economic instability. In the short run, this internal reform could include the opening of a new enlargement process
- Meeting the accession criteria by candidate countries:
- Like-mindedness – referring to the existence of a market-based economy and a functional democracy;
- Significant player – regarding the size and economic importance of the candidate state;
- Mutual benefit – requiring for the accession to be advantageous for both the candidate country and the OECD;
- Global considerations – regarding the assurance of geographical balance between the organisation’s members.
- The political consensus of OECD member states regarding the Romanian candidacy (political support of all member states for Romania’s accession).
As an EU member state, Romania fulfils the OECD accession criteria, since the EUacquis (acquis communautaire), applied by Romania, is inspired by the organisation’s recommendations.
At the moment, Romania has a general favourable assessment from the OECD, in light of its relevant position in the region, its constructive involvement in the organisation’s activity and its economic development potential. Romania could join the OECD in the medium-run.
Steps taken for OECD accession
Romania’s steps taken for OECD accession are based on an action plan approved by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, starting from general strategic benchmarks, approved by the President of the state. Undertaking these steps requires the involvement of both institutional actors (the MFA and other institutions which represent Romania within the organisation’s bodies), and civil society representatives (the academic and the business environments, both Romanian and foreign with activities in Romania, the media etc.). The steps are focused on two dimensions:
- External promotion: promoting Romania’s candidacy within the OECD, while also on a bilateral basis with member states of the organisation, through lobby campaigns, consolidating Romanian experts’ participation within OECD’s bodies, promoting their initiatives in relationship with foreign partners etc.
- Internal promotion: attracting internal support for Romania’s accession efforts to the OECD, improving institutional coordination in order to fulfil the accession objective etc.
Main benefits for Romania as an OECD member
- The benefit of Romania being a member of a select club of developed economies and the implicit recognition, at global level, of its status of functional market-based economy and consolidated democracy, with impact on the country’s rating and on attracting foreign investment;
- The benefit of example. Romania’s favourable image with regard to both the world’s major economies (USA, China, Japan etc.) and to the states in the region with European integration ambitions (the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Serbia etc.);
- The benefit of expertise. The access to necessary information in Romania’s top priority fields (government framework, legislation reform, anti-corruption, fiscal policy, transport infrastructure, agriculture, education etc.);
- The benefit of Romania’s accession to OECD instruments and centres for economic decision and the possibility to contribute to global economic governance;
- The benefit of support with regard to public policies from OECD member states through periodic evaluations of Romania’s policies in specific domains (peer review) and the proposal of recommendations for their improvement.