Pertinent to our future

OECD Observer

This historic occasion opens up exciting new perspectives for the world, says OECD Secretary-General Donald Johnston. Four of these countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and the Slovak Republic - are already members of the OECD.

In this context, I often reflect upon the comment of the renowned British historian H.A.L. Fisher, from the foreword to his History of Europe in 1936, as he addressed the deep divisions which had bedevilled European unity for centuries:

"... ever since the first century of our era, the dream of unity has hovered over the scene and haunted the imagination of statesmen and peoples. Nor is there any question more pertinent to the future welfare of the world than how the nations of Europe, whose differences are so many and so inveterate, may best be combined into some stable organisation for the pursuit of their common interests and the avoidance of strife."

©OECD Observer May 2004

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