|ILO Director General, Guy Ryder
© Kilian Munch / ILO
First of all I would like to welcome you all to this meeting in Oslo here today. I will be doing so formally when I speak this afternoon to our next Plenary session. But as this is my first opportunity to speak to you, please allow me just to thank you all for coming, and in particular to express my appreciation to our high level guests, and above all to the Government of Norway for its hospitality in hosting this 9th European Regional Conference of the ILO.
Colleagues, we face a major challenge in our discussions over the coming days. None of you need any reminder of the levels of unemployment in most countries of this region. We face a continuing economic and employment crisis with no obvious resolution in sight. This Conference needs to discuss the situation and then to reach agreement in proposing effective actions to achieve recovery.
Given that task ahead of us, we look forward in particular to the contributions that this opening panel will make to our coming discussions.
I am honoured to have in this panel the Heads of state or government of two countries – Lithuania and Norway - that were able to emerge relatively quickly from the crisis, restore growth and, at least to some extent, reduce unemployment. The impact of the crisis on their economies and labour markets was very different and - due to their specific country situations - the policies certainly varied a lot. Therefore we look forward very much to the presentations we will receive from the Prime Minister of Norway Mr. Stoltenberg and the President of Lithuania Ms. Grybauskaité.
I am also very pleased to welcome Mr. Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, an organization with which the ILO regularly cooperates in discussion of policies to promote growth and employment.
Finally, I am delighted to have among us two high-level representatives of the social partners, Mr. Ferrer Duffol and Mr. Cortebeeck. Their positions and comments will provide essential input for our policy considerations.
Without further ado, then, I would like to begin by asking Mrs. Grybauskaité, President of Lithuania, to do us the honour of being the first speaker in our panel today. Madam President, we look forward to hearing your address.
Bridging questions to the panellists:
- To Prime Minister Stoltenberg: Mr. Prime Minister, in Norway, there was only a small and short-lived GDP fall and unemployment increase. What is the secret of those anti-crisis policies?
- To OECD Secretary-General Gurría: Mr. Gurría, could you share with us the OECD’s views on policies promoting economic and labour market recovery?
- To the employers’ and workers’ representatives: What is your opinion with regard to the policies promoting recovery and job-rich growth as suggested by the ILO?