The OECD was established in 1961 by the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. It replaced the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), which was founded in 1948 to administer the Marshall Plan of the United States for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. Currently there are 37 member countries (including Hungary). Colombia was the last state which has formally become an OECD Member in 2020. The OECD also opened accession discussions with Costa Rica and is currently considering the accession request of Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. The headquarters of the OECD are located in Paris. The OECD groups together the most developed countries, and it plays a principal role as an economic policy forum where member countries meet and exchange views and information. The OECD, with its own theoretical and analytical work, helps to form and harmonise national economic policies. The OECD is a co-ordinating organisation, it dispenses neither money nor supranational authority.
The OECD makes most of its own decisions by consensus, it has no power to initiate any sanctions. The main goals of the OECD include the development of the world economy through economic growth, high employment, the promotion of free market practices, the increase in the standard of living, and the preservation of monetary stability.
The structure of the organisation
The supreme body of the Organisation is the Council, its subordinate, the Executive Committee, and the General Secretariat assisting their work. They are further assisted by the international Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General of the Organisation. The council has two levels: the Ministerial Council (which consists of economic and/or financial ministers, sometimes ministers for foreign affairs), and the permanent representatives’ level, which is composed of one representative for each member country (leading the OECD mission as an Ambassador). The annual Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) is always scheduled before the G-7 summit, and is preceded by the first annual meeting of the Economic Policy Committee. There are about 300 specialised committees, which carry out the major part of the Organisation’s work. The committees’ activity basically covers all areas of economic and social life (social matters, employment, environment, education, the liberalisation of trade, co-operation with developing economies, aid-policy, etc.).
The OECD and Hungary
The official relationship between Hungary and the OECD started in 1991 with the PIT programme (Partners in Transition). During the programme, great emphasis was given to the issue of the convertibility of the Hungarian forint, to the establishment of the money market setting, and to fiscal reform. During the process of formulating new legislation ensuring market economy conditions (the Act on Foreign Exchange, the Act on Credit Institutions and Financial Enterprises, the Insurance Act, The Act on Bankruptcy Proceedings, the Act on Accounting), the OECD provided professional and technical assistance in order to enable Hungary to use the knowledge and experience accumulated in member countries as much as possible. On 7 May 1996, Hungary became a member of the Organisation.
The Magyar Nemzeti Bank and the OECD
The Magyar Nemzeti Bank, from the beginning, has been regularly participating in the work of those committees which are professionally important for the Bank's activity (for example, the Economic Policy Committee and its working parties, the Economic and Development Review Committee (EDRC), the Committee on Financial Markets and also some Statistics working parties). Moreover, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank is the member of the OECD National Council – a professional forum for ministries and other state organizations to take better advantage of Hungary's membership in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. In addition, the MNB also participates in the preparatory work of the OECD Economic Outlook, issued twice a year. The experts of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank also contribute to the work on the study called Economic Survey – Hungary, published every year and a half, in which the Hungarian economy as a whole is put under examination by the EDRC of the OECD. The Magyar Nemzeti Bank works closely together with OECD in dissemination of financial literacy in Hungary.