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One year of Lithuanian OECD membership

OECD

Lithuania is the member state of the European Union, NATO, UN, WTO, other international organisations.

OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, also known as ‘club of the rich’, is the most recent international organisation to which Lithuania got admitted, a year ago, on 5 July 2018. What are results of this year-old membership? What are its benefits?

Even though Lithuania finished its accession negotiations relatively quickly, its path to full OECD membership was rather long. Its beginning could be traced back even to the early years of Lithuania’s restored independence, when in 1996 the three Baltic States – Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia – signed a joint declaration stating their intention to join the OECD. Lithuania reinstated its intention separately in 2002 and renewed the membership application in 2012.

Lithuania has benefited from the OECD accession process. With a view to implementing the OECD legal instruments, Lithuania revised more than 200 legal acts, including amendments to approximately 50 laws. Major legislative reforms concern the governance of state-owned enterprises, strengthening of anti-corruption measures, and improving the investment environment.

In return, Lithuania got access to OECD membership, regarded as ‘the plce to be’ as an organisation leading efforts on economic growth, global competitiveness, social well-being and good governance. It is also often seen as the ‘house of best practices’. Additional benefits from membership are the recognition of a country’s achievements, bigger visibility in international arena and a certain ‘seal of approval’ for international investors.

Just recently, at the end of April 2019, Lithuanian has appointed its first ambassador to OECD, Ms. Lina Viltrakiene from the Lithuanian foreign ministry.

“The main task will be to use the organization for Lithuania’s key reforms,” she said at the Cabinet’s of Ministers meeting. Furthermore, according to her, Lithuania will also try to contribute to the creation of international rules and standards within the OECD. The diplomat has in the past worked in Lithuania’s missions to the EU and the UN.

Two diplomats currently work at the country’s mission to the organisation, but another four special attachés, covering economics, finance, education and science, social security and employment, are likely to be appointed in the summer.

Recently, Lithuania has been unfavourably rated by the OECD in its Skills Outlook 2019. A new scoreboard finds that only a few countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, are ahead in terms of the skills and effective lifelong learning systems needed to thrive in the digital world. However, many other countries are lagging behind. Japan and Korea, for example, have the potential to perform well, but must make greater efforts to ensure older workers and adults are not left behind. People in Chile, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Slovak Republic and Turkey often lack the skills needed to flourish in the digital world and current training systems are not developed enough to enable them to up skill.

Although, the reality might be different. In fact, Lithuania has one of the highest penetrations of high-speed in the world, and its population is digitally literate.

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