Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)


The OECD was founded in 1961, its predecessor was the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), which was entrusted with the support of the Marshall Plan.

The aim of the OECD is to contribute towards the development of the world economy through economic cooperation among its 30 member states, as well as through dialogue with other countries. The main instruments of the OECD’s work are peer reviews and mutual exchanges designed to develop economic and social policies which are geared to achieving sustainable growth, a high level of employment and a rising global standard of living while maintaining financial stability. As the world economy is becoming increasingly networked, the OECD, too, is being progressively globalized through an intensification of dialogue and outreach activities.

Members and operating methods

The following countries are members of the OECD: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The EU Commission participates in the work of the OECD. At the May 2007 Council meeting at ministerial level, the member countries decided to open accession negotiations with Chile, Estonia, Israel, Russia and Slovenia, and agreed to work together more closely with the major emerging economies, i.e. Brazil, the People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia and South Africa.

The organization’s supreme body is the Council of Permanent Representatives, which meets for regular sessions; once a year it takes place at ministerial level. Decisions and recommendations are normally adopted by mutual agreement or unanimously. In specific cases a majority decision is taken; 60% of the member countries must then vote in favour. Three countries which together pay more than 25% of the obligatory contributions may, however, block a majority decision.

The OECD’s approximately 200 committees, working groups and expert panels deal with a broad range of economic and social issues. There are three standing committees: the Executive Committee, the Budget Committee and the External Relations Committee.

The OECD is financed by membership contributions and the sale of publications. The obligatory contributions are calculated according to the size of member country’s economy, based on per-capita national income. The member states can also provide voluntary contributions. The Secretariat, which employs experts from all fields, is headed by a Secretary-General (since July 2006 Angel Gurría, Mexico), who chairs the Council and represents the OECD externally.

Priorities of the OECD’s work

The OECD’s current focuses include: ageing societies, poverty control, combating bribery and corruption, employment, taxation, outreach, energy, education (the PISA study), fiscal and monetary policy, health, trade, sustainable development, regulatory reform, transport, corporate governance, and competition.

The OECD and its significance for Germany

With its macroeconomic, trade and structural policy recommendations which feed into national and international economic policy discussions, the OECD represents, from the point of view of the Federal Government, one of the most significant and renowned international advisory organizations. The OECD will continue to make important contributions towards analysis and policy-making in the context of globalized economic activities which cannot be made by other international organizations.

Within the Federal Government, all OECD matters are coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

Last updated 02.11.2009

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