Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), praised Israel’s economy at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Finance Minister Steinitz, as reported in Israel Hayom.
The article quotes Gurria as saying,”… I should start by saying to my hosts that they have done very well, exceptionally well, in a very, very difficult world economy.“
Gurria encouraged Israel to continue along its current economic path, saying “You are really moving in the right direction under very, very difficult circumstances. I would only say: Stay the course. That is the way to go.”
Netanyahu praised Gurria’s work, saying “You have been a superb director of the OECD and of course one of your greatest achievements was getting Israel into the OECD. We never forget that and we appreciate your friendship, your cooperation, your honesty, your professionalism.”
The prime minister explained that the economy was growing due to the government’s oversight on spending and its ability to curb its debts. He also said that Israel was doing better than many members of the OECD “because we maintained the right policies. We had greater growth than the OECD. We have a much lower unemployment. We added 250,000 jobs in three years.”
After the meeting with Netanyahu and Steinitz, Gurria attended a conference with Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer titled “Social policy: In which direction is it heading?” During the conference, Gurria said Europe was strong and that it would overcome its financial troubles. “To save banks in Spain, Italy and other European countries, hundreds of millions of euros will have to be injected into their economies.”
President Shimon Peres also met Gurria on Monday to discuss the Israeli economy as well as global economic trends. Peres thanked Gurria and said “Israel appreciates your important role in helping it join the OECD and the way you are running the organization.”
On May 10, 2011, the OECD welcomed Israel as a full member. All 31 members of the organization voted for Israel’s entry and the official ceremony was held in Paris on May 27 the same year.