HomeMEDIA RESOURCES200419 February 2004 - NATO Parliamentarians Discuss Global Economy at OECD
19 February 2004 - NATO Parliamentarians Discuss Global Economy at OECD
Following three days of mainly closed meetings in Brussels on Alliance and European Union issues, NATO parliamentarians moved to Paris on Wednesday February 18 for the annual exchange of views with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The parliamentarians from NATO’s 19 member states and several associate countries received a detailed overview on the state of the global economy, trends in international migration and the challenges of post-conflict reconstruction with particular emphasis on Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Jorgen Elmeskov, deputy-director of the OECD’s economic section, outlined that economic growth in the last two quarters of 2003 in the United States was more robust than had been at first expected, and that Japan - aided by strong exports to China - had showed signs of finally emerging from a long period of stagnation.
However, he also demonstrated that the economies of the Euro-zone countries were expected to remain sluggish with little prospect of real economic growth in the short-term. In reply to questions from the NATO parliamentarians, he identified the high US budget deficit and ageing populations in Europe as twin causes for concern.
However, he said he viewed structural problems and the implicit debt arising out of social security commitments in the Euro-zone and Japan as a more serious long-term problem than US over-spend.
The issue of migration challenges for OECD nations was later taken up by Mr John Martin, Director of the Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Division, who told members of parliament that for too long migration flows had been treated as “the Cinderella of globalisation”, but at long last the issue was being taken more and more seriously.
He said a study by the OECD had shown there had been no recent surge in asylum seekers to OECD countries despite press reports giving the opposite impression. He also said the study had shown it would not be possible for European countries to address the problem of ageing populations and declining work forces through migratory labour.
“It would simply not be possible to have influxes of that size,” he told the parliamentarians, adding that migrant workers themselves grew old and acquired rights in the countries where they chose to work.
His paper received wide praise from the group which later in the day held a round-table discussion on post-conflict reconstruction and trade and development issues post-Cancun.