March 4, 2015

Presentation of the Baku-2015 First European Games in Rome

Presentation of the Baku-2015 First European Games took place in the city of Rome, March 4. 

Azerbaijan’s First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Chairperson of the First European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the ceremony:

- Ladies and gentlemen.

Dear Guests, esteemed Friends.

I’m very pleased to have come to the ancient and beautiful city of Rome and be with you this evening. I welcome all of you from the bottom of my heart to this event and thank you for your kind regard, attention and interest you have shown towards Azerbaijan. 

Holding presentation of the first European Games in the city of Rome is of special significance for us, as it was this city where a decision was taken in December 2012 at the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committee to hold these Games in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. I’m very pleased to see President of the European Olympic Committee Patrick Hickey and Chairperson of the Baku-2015 First European Games Coordination Committee Spiros Kapralos with us. I want to underscore your constant support and help we have felt while preparing for the Games. I would like to thank you and all members of the European Olympic Committee. 

Respected Guests, Azerbaijan has built cooperation with the state of Italy after regaining its state independence, and this cooperation is being extended successfully. Our cooperation is covering a number of spheres, including political, economic and humanitarian. Interparliamentary friendship groups, intergovernmental commissions are functioning. Today, Italy is one of the biggest partners of Azerbaijan. Italian companies are operating in Azerbaijan. With the execution of the South gas corridor, of which foundation was laid last year, the Azerbaijani gas will in the near future be transported to Europe, including Italy. This will be contribution by Azerbaijan to energy security of Europe, at the same time it will lift the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy to a new level. 

Our cooperation in the humanitarian field is developing very successfully, and the erection of a monument to great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi in the Villa Borghese Park has been highly appreciated by the people of Azerbaijan. Events introducing Azerbaijan’s old history and culture in Italy, days of Azerbaijani culture, exhibitions and concerts are held not only in Rome, but also in other cities of Italy. Restoration works are carried out with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in “Philosophers Room” of Rome’s Capitoline Museum. The state of Azerbaijan has made its contribution to preservation of numerous monuments in Italy, including Rome, and last year an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan and the City Hall of Rome. I’m confident cooperation in sport is also very strong, and upcoming first European Games will open new opportunities to strengthen this cooperation further. 

Dear Friends, although the Olympic movement was born in Europe and later rehabilitated, so far no European Games were held. To organize, receive and hold such Games for the first time is, of course, great honour for our country and great responsibility, on the other side. No doubt, upon taking this decision, the European Olympic Committee relied on a number of facts: support to sport by  the Azerbaijani state, existing sports infrastructure and, of course, country’s general development. Supporting sports and Olympic movement is one of the priority directions of the state policy in Azerbaijan. During  last decade, over 50 up-to-date Olympic centres were built in the country. We have been participating in Olympic Games since 1996, and achievements of our athletes are growing. At the last Olympic Games, the Azerbaijani national team took the 15th place among the European countries, having won 10 medals, 2 out of them being gold, and the 30th place among the total participants. At the Youth Olympic Games held in China last year, our young athletes took the 10th place among some 200 participants, having won 12 medals, five out of them being gold. 

Dear Friends, we very well realize that the first Games, their organization will define the standards and level of the future Games. Although we have had only two and a half year for the preparation works, Azerbaijan is determined to hold these Games on a very high level, on the level of Summer Olympic Games. To ensure this, all measures are taken, the Organizing Committee has been working hard. We have been working in cooperation with international sports organizations, the European Olympic Committees. I’m hopeful, the first European Games in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, will be held in an environment of fairness, sound competition, friendship and solidarity and turn into a grandiose sports holiday bringing countries, nations and people together. 

Dear Friends, in conclusion, I would like to express my pleasure of being in your unique city, and thank you for your hospitality. Taking this chance, I’m inviting you to our country – Azerbaijan - to watch the first European Games. 

Enjoy your evening. Thank you very much.

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