Chef de Mission France
1) Why has it taken so long for Europe to stage its first continental Games?
It's really important for Europe to stage continental Games like Asia and Pan America. Who else than the European Olympic Committees had this ability? It's essential that European Federations are weighing up the importance of the future challenges.
2) What makes Baku the perfect host city to stage the inaugural European Games?
Baku is a capital which is in full expansion. These Games will be a good opportunity to shed light on Azerbaijan. The framework is compact, an Olympic Village for the athletes, a will of listening from the Government and its youth to realise the best Games as possible.
3) How big do you think your team for Baku 2015 will be and how many sports will you be represented in?
Since the beginning the French Olympic Committee saw the interest of such an event and made its National Federations aware during a presentation on September 2013. We should have around 260 athletes and around half [of that number] in staff, representing 16 different sports. The quotas achieved so far are in line with our forecast.
4) How important is it for the success and appeal of the European Games that some sports afford athletes the opportunity to qualify for Olympic Games?
The current attraction for some Federations is the possibility to obtains direct quotas and for the others, to prepare themselves for a major competition. In the long term, these Games must be a step in the Olympic qualification process in substitution of existing competitions in order to avoid overloading schedules.
5) What is the significance of the Games for the European Olympic Movement and how confident are you that they will become sport's flagship event on the continent?
It's important for the European Olympic Movement to organise an event like this on this continent in order to be known by the general public, to promote the Olympics values and also that all the International Federations of the Olympic programme join this Movement to allow the best athletes to participate.
6) How impressed have you been by the facilities to be used for the European Games and the work of the Baku 2015 Organising Committee in ensuring their delivery and readiness?
We came for the first Open Day and the Chef of Missions' Seminar. We were impressed by the quality of the installations, the Government's involvement, and the very short time to set up all the procedures for such a Games [which are] identical to the Olympics Games. The Baku European Games Organising Committee [has succeeded in surrounding] itself with good expertise in order to help the National Olympic Committees to prepare efficiently these Europeans Games.
7) Are there any sports not represented that you would like to see in the European Games?
Of course some sports are not represented. The wish would be to have the same disciplines as during the Olympics Games, with more team sports.
8) How symbolic is it that the first ever European Games will take place in a country that has experienced a major re-birth of its own since gaining independence in 1991?
It's a great opportunity for the country and its youth to open up to Europe [and] to [help] it [showcase] its assets. These Games will set a lasting sport legacy and many skills [will be] acquired through our mutual exchanges.
9) How interested do you think the public in your country will be in the Games?
The French public will be able to discover this event only by our media. We are trying to convince them these European Games are an evolving event, that it's important to be there at the beginning of this adventure and also that our athletes will be the best ambassadors to promote the event to the press.
10) What are you looking forward to most at Baku 2015?
We are looking forward to Baku [making an] imprint [on] these Games. Baku will deliver, we are certain, high quality competitions. We [hope for] a large audience to celebrate our athletes' accomplishments and that this first edition will bring more candidates [forward to host the Games] for years to come.
Interview by Gary Anderson