75th anniversary of the creation of the OEEC

From the ashes of war to the foundations for lasting co-operation

The Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) was created in 1948. Bringing together 18 countries in Western Europe following the devastation of the Second World War, this nascent precursor to the OECD laid the foundations for lasting co-operation, shared development, and open trade that continue to this day and whose goals remain as relevant as ever 75 years later. 

With Europe emerging from the war, United States Secretary of State George Marshall had an idea. Europe needed substantial economic and technical assistance to recover from the destruction. Spearheading an unprecedented economic reconstruction and recovery effort, the Marshall Plan – officially the European Recovery Programme – laid the foundations for lasting peace and co-operation in Europe. A new organisation was needed to administer the Plan.

On 16 April 1948, the OEEC was born.

Within months of its creation, the OEEC, composed of 18 members, was in operation and Marshall Plan aid was allocated to countries that had just recently been at war. Contingent on member countries’ willingness to work together, the aid encouraged countries to look beyond the nation state – and to focus on areas of mutual interest.


The extraordinary rebuilding effort put Europe’s economy back on its feet in record time. The Marshall Plan aid ended – but the seed had been planted. Countries continued to work in partnership to share insights and best practices, to strive towards shared interests, and membership expanded to include Canada, the United States and Japan. The Convention transforming the OEEC into a new organisation was signed at the Château de la Muette in Paris on 14 December 1960. It was the beginning of a new era: the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development came into being on 30 September 1961.

Over the next 60 years, the OECD’s membership would grow to 38, including countries from Latin America, Asia and the Pacific, fulfilling its mission of supporting countries to find common solutions to common challenges. Through international co-operation and shared values, the OECD’s goal has been to drive forward better policies for better lives – building on the legacy of the OEEC, whose founding principles remain more relevant than ever.

OEEC milestones

Related material

Annual report
2024 Ministerial Council Meeting documents
2024 Ministerial Council Statement