On 12th June the first ever European Games opened with a bang in Baku. Approximately six thousand sportsmen and women from 50 different countries will take part in the games. A total of 253 medals across 20 different types of sports are up for grabs. Despite the fact that the games opened without hitch, the event has come under a wave of criticism from EU and US media. Journalists are highlighting the expense of the games in a country whose economy is unstable.
With the fall in the price of oil, Azerbaijan has started to have some real economic difficulties. These difficulties have led to a weakening of the manta and a reduction in the countries reserves. In Q1 of 2015 the currency reserves of Azerbaijan’s state oil fund fell from $37.104 billion to $34.930 billion.
The Azerbaijani central bank has spent $4.286 billion on supporting its national currency in the same quarter (the currency reserves fell over Q1 from $13.758 to $9.472).
In sum, due to the fall in oil throughout the world, Azerbaijan’s strategic currency reserves fell by 6.460 billion USD in Q1 of 2015.
However, the expenditure of that of the games which the Europeans are moaning about doesn’t seem so high when compared with the figures mentioned above. According to official data, Azerbaijan has spent around 1.2 billion USD on organizing the games. It’s also not worth forgetting that the project is will bring returns. Throughout the games, over 100,000 people will visit the country as well as a large amount of sponsors and partners. Moreover, this is an opportunity for the country to create and develop their sport and tourist infrastructure.
Despite the negativity surrounding the games, the presidents of Russia, Belarus, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Montenegro and the prince of Monaco all attended the opening ceremony. In recent times the politics of Ilham Aliyev have not been so popular, but, nevertheless, Azerbaijan’s GDP under their 12-year serving president has shot up by over 10 times (from $7 billion to $73 billion. There are few modern politicians who can boast such economic success.