Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA)

Conseil d'assistance économique mutuelle (CAEM)
Consejo de Ayuda Mutua Económica (CAME)
Rat für Gegenseitige Wirtschaftshilfe (RGW)
Sovet Ekonomiceskoj Vzaimopomosci (SEV)

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Jan 1949, Moscow (USSR), on the basis of an understanding reached at an economic conference of representatives of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and USSR. Formalizing of Council organization completed at 1st session, Apr 1949. Charter adopted 14 Dec 1959, Sofia (Bulgaria); amended by Protocols of 21 June 1974 and 28 June 1979. Albania was admitted in Feb 1950 but ceased participation at the end of 1961. Also admitted later: German Democratic Republic in Sep 1950; Mongolia in June 1962; Cuba in July 1972; Vietnam in June 1978. German Democratic Republic ceased to exist 3 Oct 1990. CMEA was sometimes referred to as COMECON; it was dissolved on 28 June 1991.

Convention on the Settlement by Arbitration of Civil Law Disputes Arising out of Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Relationships signed by CMEA members 26 May 1972, Moscow. Agreements on cooperation with the Council were signed with the following countries that were not members of CMEA: In accordance with the Agreement of 1964, Yugoslavia took part in the work of the CMEA bodies; its scope of cooperation covered 24 fields of the CMEA activities. Agreement with Finland was signed in 1973. After the Agreement entered into force, Finland signed 135 multilateral and bilateral agreements and protocols with CMEA member countries on the basis of recommendations by the Commission on Cooperation between CMEA and the Republic of Finland. CMEA cooperation agreements were signed with Iraq (1975), Mexico (1975), Nicaragua (1983), Mozambique (1985), Angola (1986), Ethiopia (1986), Yemen DR (1986), Afghanistan (1987). To organize cooperation in accordance with signed agreements, joint (mixed) commissions were set up between CMEA and the above countries. Talks on trade relations with European Community were concluded with the signing on 25 June 1988, Luxembourg, of the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of Official Relations between CMEA and EEC, declaring mutual recognition and normalization of relations between the two organizations and removing impediments to commercial and cooperative agreements between the EEC and CMEA member countries. Important reorganization of CMEA decided during CMEA Summit Meeting, 9-10 Jan 1990, Sofia. From 1 Jan 1991, trade among CMEA countries is based on dollars and convertible currencies at world market rates.

Dissolution of CMEA and replacement by Organization for International Economic Cooperation (OIEC), was scheduled for 27-28 Feb 1991, at which date final dissolution was postponed, finally signed 28 June 1991. The changeover to OIEC was expected to take 2 years, but the splitting of the Soviet Union into its republics and the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Dec 1991, mean that the OIEC effectively no longer exists.


Promote, by uniting and coordinating the efforts of member countries: further extension and improvement of cooperation and the development of socialist economic integration; planned development of the national economies; acceleration of the economic and technological progress in these countries; raising of the level of industrialization in the less industrialized countries; a constant increase in labour productivity; gradual approximation and equalization of economic development levels; steady improvement in the well-being of the peoples of all member countries. The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance is founded on the principle of the sovereign equality of all member countries; economic, scientific and technological cooperation between members is implemented in accordance with the principles of socialist internationalism on the basis of respect for state sovereignty, independence and national interests, non-interference in internal affairs, complete equality of rights, mutual advantage and mutual comradely assistance.

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In accordance with Articles III and IV of the Charter, recommendations are adopted on matters of economic, scientific and technical cooperation and communicated to the member countries of the Council for consideration, while decision are made on organizational and procedural matters. All recommendations and decisions of the Council are adopted only with the consent of the interested CMEA member countries, and each country is entitled to declare its interest in any matter considered by the Council. Recommendations and decisions do not apply to countries which have declared their lack of interest in the question concerned. With the expansion of the economies of member countries and the development of their economic cooperation, the activity of the Council has developed and improved, passing through a number of stages - from promoting cooperation largely in foreign trade and organization of scientific and technical cooperation to coordination of national economic plans, which has become the principal method of the Council's activity in implementing the international socialist division of labour. Planning coordination by member countries is done bilaterally by means of joint consultations of their planning organs, and multilaterally by CMEA organs. Coordination of 5-year plans for 1956-1960, 1961-1965, 1966-1970, 1971-1975, 1976-1980 and 1981-1986 has been carried out; that of the 5-year plan for 1986-1990 included, following approval, during the 1982 CMEA session, and signature of agreements on multilateral collaboration in the development and use of electronic equipment and the cooperative production of industrial robots, a programme of coordination of national economic plans for 1986-1990.

In 1975, member States adopted the 'Co-ordinated Plan of Multilateral Integration Measures', providing for construction of joint projects and solution of major scientific and technical problems, the estimated value of which amounted to 9 billion transferable roubles. Coordination is also achieved through international specialization and in matters of scientific and technical research, exchange of experience, commodity circulation, currency and financial relations. The major concentration at present is on: Fuel and Power Industries; Raw Materials Supply; Machine Building; Radio Engineering and Electronics; Chemical and Iron and Steel Industries. Recommendations are issued concerning production of machinery, equipment and tools for mining, petroleum extraction and processing, transport by rail and road, agriculture, food and textiles, metal cutting, pressing and welding equipment.

'Comprehensive Programme for the Further Extension and Improvement of Cooperation and the Development of Socialist Economic Integration of the CMEA Member Countries', was unanimously adopted by the XXV Session of the Council, July 1971, Bucharest (Romania). In accordance with the Comprehensive Programme, the CMEA member countries expand and improve economic, scientific and technical cooperation and develop socialist economic integration in order to promote: the more rapid development of the productive forces in all CMEA member countries; the achievement of the highest scientific and technological level and the maximum increase in the economic effectiveness of social production, and also a maximum growth of the productivity of social labour; the improvement of the structure and the growth of the scale of production, attended by a steady rise in technical equipping of branches and the introduction of progressive technology in accordance with the requirements of the scientific and technological revolution; the satisfaction in the long run of the growing national economic requirements of countries for fuel, power and raw materials, modern equipment, agricultural, food and gustatory commodities and other consumer goods, mainly through the production and rational utilization of the resources of the CMEA member countries; the rise in the material and cultural level of the peoples of the CMEA member countries; the gradual drawing closer and evening out of the economic development levels of the CMEA member countries; the growth of the capacity and stability of the socialist world market; the strengthening of the positions of the CMEA member countries in the world economy.

The main ways and means for the achievement of these goals are: the carrying out of multi- and bilateral mutual consultations on basic issues of economic policy; the intensification of multi- and bilateral cooperation in planning activities of the countries, including cooperation in forecasting, the coordination of five-year and of long-term plans for key branches of the economy and lines of production, joint planning by interested countries in some agreed-upon branches of industry, exchange of experience with a view to improving planification systems and national economy management; the systematic extension of international specialization and cooperation in production, science and technology; the pooling of interested countries' efforts for prospecting and mining of minerals, the building of industrial projects, and the carrying out of research; the systematic expansion and increase in the effectiveness of mutual trade, the improvement of its organizational forms on the basis of state monopoly of foreign trade; the development of mutual trade ties attended by the improvement of currency-financial relations and the system of foreign trade prices; the extension of direct links between ministries, boards and other state bodies, economic research and design organizations of the CMEA member countries; the development of existing and the creation by interested countries of new international economic organizations; the improvement of the legal basis of economic, scientific and technical cooperation, particularly with a view to raising the material responsibility of the sides for the non-fulfilment or inadequate fulfilment of mutual obligations.

Cooperation is in progress in the fields of: energy, fuel, and raw materials; agriculture and the food industry; mechanical engineering; meeting of rational needs of the countries in industrial consumer goods; development of transport links. 'Cooperative Projects': International Centre for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI), set up 27 Feb 1969; 'Intergovernmental Cooperation Commission' for the main gas pipeline from Orenburg to the Western borders of the USSR; cooperation among leaders of hydraulic industries; and various consultative groups of given ministries and economic administrations which have no formal legal status or apparatus but perform their work at periodic sessions.

The Comprehensive Programme is drawn up for 15-20 years, enumerating essential economic and organizational measures to be carried out by stages at dates laid down in the Comprehensive Programme, and taking into account the interests of the adoption of the Comprehensive Programme and its successful implementation have made it possible to elaborate and adopt long-term specific programmes of cooperation (LTSPCs). These programmes, which specify provisions of the Comprehensive Programme of Socialist Economic Integration, determine the agreed strategy for cooperation among the CMEA member countries for a period through 1990 in the solution of key problems of their socio-economic development.

For the purpose of implementing the task of strengthening within a historically short period of time the material and technological base of the CMEA member countries and attain the world's most advanced positions, which would contribute to the growth of prestige and the attractive force of socialism, an international group of scientists and specialists prepared the 'Comprehensive Programme of Scientific and Technological Progress of the CMEA Member Countries up to the Year 2000 (CPSTP)' which was adopted by the Council Session at its 41st (extraordinary) meeting, Dec 1985, Moscow (Russia).

At the 44th Meeting of the CMEA Session, July 1988, the 'Collective Concept of the International Socialist Division of Labour for 1991-2005' was approved and when realized it will contribute to the dynamic and harmonized development of the national economy in the CMEA member countries, to its intensification on the basis of accelerated scientific and technological progress, to more complete and efficient utilization of the advantages offered by the socialist division of labour, to a higher economic efficiency and further rise in the people's standard of living, to the consolidation of the technological and economic invulnerability of the countries of the socialist community to capitalist states and to the active participation of the CMEA member countries in the global division of the labour.


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Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Mongolian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Spanish, Vietnamese.

Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 94 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 1 non-governmental organizations.
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Members in 9 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Government
    • Intergovernmental Communities
  • Management
    • Planning
  • Economics
    • Economic
    • Productivity
  • Technology
    • Technology
  • Development
    • Development
    • Assistance
  • Solidarity
    • Cooperation
  • Idealism
    • Ideologies
  • Integration
    • Integration

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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