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Slovenia Signs OECD Accession Treaty (III)

Ljubljana, 01 June (STA) - Slovenia signed the accession treaty of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on Tuesday in Ljubljana after receiving a formal invitation for membership in Paris last week, capping 14 years of efforts to join this elite club of advanced economies.

The treaty was signed by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, who is paying a working visit to Slovenia today, and Slovenian Development and European Affairs Minister Mitja Gaspari.

Slovenia will be an active member and will follow the OEDC advice and its information, not copying them but apply them in decisions necessary for the successful governance in view of the local situation, Prime Minister Borut Pahor said on the occasion.

"We are part of the OECD, which is our partner, adviser," the prime minister said, adding that by joining the organisation, Slovenia took an important step to integration in the part of the developed world it would like to be a part of in the future.

Gurria said today was an important day for the OECD as well, and noted that the accession process was running very smoothly. As part of the process, Slovenia adopted a law to manage state enterprise assets, which Gurria said was beneficial for the country.

Referring to the global financial and economic crisis, the secretary-general said that the words of Primoz Trubar, the author of the first Slovenian books, "stand and withstand", were very topical at the moment. In these times especially, it is important to stand and withstand together, he said.

The crisis has shown that economies need to cooperate and take coordinated action. Coordinated action by economies is the OECD's mission, Gurria said, adding that the organisation was striving for a stronger, cleaner and fairer global economy.

"This is why we need to be more pluralist, global, inclusive, which means Slovenia's accession is an important step on our path to becoming a meeting point for dialogue on global issues," the OECD secretary-general said.

Pahor showed him a scoreboard of reform laws designed to lead Slovenia out of the crisis, which impressed Gurria. He said the implementation of reforms would take a lot of work and courage to reach consensus. "You have ambitious goals and we are here to help you, cooperate with you in their implementation."

Minister Gaspari, who led the negotiations with the OECD, said the accession started a new process - Slovenia's sustainable, active work as a member. "The benefits accessible to members of this organisation are quite a few. We'll try hard to benefit from the assets as best as we can."

He said Slovenia would like to work productively with OECD experts to work out efficient strategies of post-crisis development, implement the necessary structural adjustments in order to create a modern social model. One that will be based on sustainable growth, expertise, innovation and responsibility towards people and the environment.

An OECD technical team has already arrived in Slovenia to draw up a comprehensive economic review of by the end of the year. The document is expected to be presented to the government and the public early next year.

The review team will focus on the implementation of the principles of corporative governance and measures to attain sustainable economic growth and to make the Slovenian economy more competitive.

The OECD accession treaty will now be sent to the National Assembly for ratification, but the accession process will be completed only when Slovenia deposits the ratification documents with the French government.

Along with Slovenia and Estonia and Israel, which are also joining the organisation, the OECD will have 34 members. Russia is in membership talks too, while Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa enjoy the status of privileged partners and have an opportunity to become members in the future.

The organisation makes guidelines and prepares analyses on many economic and other fields such as education, health and science. Based on the analyses it compiles many rankings and lists of countries, which serves as an informal tool to encourage countries to implement the established standards.

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