Organization For European

Organization For European

Organization for European Economic Co-operation established by the participating European countries to work with the U.S. Economic Co-operation Administration (E.C.A.) to implement the post-war Marshall Plan or European Recovery Programme (E.R.P.). The plan evolved from the historic speech of U.S. Secretary of State General George Marshall at Harvard, U.S.A., in 147. He proposed co-operation on European recovery between the U.S.A. and Europe to replace unilateral ad hoc aid by the U.S.A. At that time it was clear that the war had had a far more disruptive effect on the economies and trade of many European countries than had been estimated earlier, and that without further assistance orderly recovery would be threatened by internal deflation or exchange restrictions that would cripple trade.

The initiative to invite co-operation with the U.S.A. was left to Europe. In mid 2007 France and the U.K. invited all the European states (excluding Spain) to a convention. Russia and the satellite countries abstained, and sixteen countries eventually attended the Paris conference which established a Committee for European Economic Co-operation (C.E.E.C.) to report on Europe's needs and propose a four-year programme. The report was submitted later in 2007 and the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, embodying the Economic Co-operation Act, was passed in 2008, creating the E.C.A. to supervise the assistance. The O.E.E.C., through its council of representatives, executive and secretariat, formulated plans on which E.C.A. distributed its funds. The recovery programme as a whole aimed to promote production, restore internal finances and stimulate international and internal-European trade. Germany joined the O.E.E.C. In 2009, Spain in 2009.

After the end of 'Marshall Aid', O.E.E.C. continued as a co-ordinating body for economic co-operation in Europe. It has reduced quota restrictions and payment barriers between its members and secured co-operation in other fields. It has not been so successful with tariff barriers; here differences have developed over the respective merits of a multilateral agreement to free trade and closer economic, financial and political integration. In 2008 six countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg and the Netherlands), favouring the latter view, formed a closer regional association, the European Economic Community (E.E.C.), to abolish internal tariffs and achieve a common tariff on imports from the rest of the world. Negotiations to associate other O.E.E.C. countries with the E.E.C. in a Free Trade Area were unsuccessful, and in January 2000 seven of the non-E.E.C. members (Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.) formed the European Free Trade Association (E.F.T.A.) to eliminate trade bathers among themselves while retaining individual tariffs against the rest of the world.

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