SPAIN: In 2020, Spain has held the Rotating Presidency of the Ministerial Meeting of the OECD Council, during which year it proposed the need for the organisation to work on establishing a framework of reference for safe international mobility – a key element in the economic recovery in the crisis’s wake caused by COVID-19.
Immediately after presenting this Spanish initiative, Pedro Sánchez announced that, the OECD Secretariat and its Member States will work on the development and coordination of a strategy that leads to an introduction of a harmonised system across all countries to open borders safely.
To this end, countries must agree on a protocol that clearly indicates which tests, certificates and self-isolation are required in different epidemiological circumstances in countries of origin and destination, and the means of travel; it will also be necessary to agree on the documentation and procedures necessary to travel and the recognised emitting authorities in the country of origin. Furthermore, countries should establish mutual recognition of diagnostic tests which could be backed by a safe platform that complies with privacy rules and which ends up allowing borders to be reopened without the need to self-isolate.
Spain has pushed through this initiative at the OECD to achieve greater multilateral coordination in the strategy’s design, since the OECD can complement European forums by bringing other international public and private parties to the table. The results of this initiative will be contained in a proposal that will be presented at a high-level conference in early February next year.
Drivers of economic reconstruction
In his inaugural speech, Pedro Sánchez also called for a new economic model to tackle the two greatest challenges of our times: first, to combat COVID-19 and rebuild economies in the epidemic’s wake, and second, to step up the fight against climate change. “This context requires an alternative model of growth that combines equal opportunities, including gender equality, social and territorial cohesion, technological innovation and environmental sustainability”, explained Pedro Sánchez.
According to Pedro Sánchez, the new economic paradigm must be based on three elements with important political implications: the first is public investment and its knock-on effect on the rest of the economy with the aim of States being facilitators of sustainable development; the second is reducing inequalities (gender, social, employment, territorial and education) to ensure that no-one is left behind in the recovery; and the third is renewed multilateralism because “we will only successfully hit our targets if we work together”, explained the President of the Government.
60 years of work on growth, employment and quality of life
In his speech to open the events of the 60th anniversary of the OECD, Pedro Sánchez highlighted the body’s capacity to maintain its position as an important institution over the course of its 60 years of history. He also showed the role that the organisation has played in helping countries realise how interdependent their economies are. “Over the course of these six decades of progress and change, the OECD has remained a key forum so we can collectively identify problems, discuss them and analyse them, while promoting policies to resolve them. The OECD has become a factor of global influence and a facilitator of economic growth and well-being”, explained the President of the Government.
Pedro Sánchez highlighted the capacity of Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, whose mandate ends in 2021, to introduce recent issues in the organisation’s discourse and other international institutions in recent years, such as digitalisation, inclusive growth and environmental care. As regards digitalisation, Pedro Sánchez remarked on the crucial role the OECD is playing in heading up efforts to achieve a global commitment on digital taxes by promoting best practices based on the rule of law and international fair play.
During the opening ceremony, Pedro Sánchez, Ángel Gurría and Emmanuel Macron unveiled a commemorative plaque engraved in English and French and signed by the three leaders stating, “On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the OECD Conventions, the Heads of State and Government of the Member States pay tribute to the history of the Organisation and renew their commitment to international cooperation as a tool to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of their citizens, and thus contribute to the sustainable and inclusive development of the global economy”.
A transforming recovery
Following the inaugural speeches at the event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the OECD Convention, Pedro Sánchez took part in the first panel of leaders entitled “A transformative recovery: forging a new consensus for economic, social and environmental progress”.
During the panel, the President of the Government stressed the need to establish a new economic paradigm to promote sustainable growth, effective multilateralism and in which the public sector plays a renewed role.
The debate also included the participation of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, the Secretary-General of the OECD, Ángel Gurría and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. The panel included the participation by video-conference of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, and the President of Colombia, Iván Duque.