Ahead of the curve: what European leaders can learn from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

Politics Materials 1 February 2023 11:23 (UTC +04:00)
Ahead of the curve: what European leaders can learn from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
Laman Zeynalova
Laman Zeynalova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 1. A lot has been said and written about the role of personalities in world politics. But today, amid the remaking of the world order, it is the personality factor that has become one of the decisive aspects in building relations between countries, in solving geopolitical problems and preventing crises.

Azerbaijan is lucky: its leader, President Ilham Aliyev, is a politician whose leadership and influence are emphasized by European leaders.

Presidents and heads of state of various countries highlight the outstanding personal qualities of President Ilham Aliyev, and recognize that Azerbaijan is the benchmark of a reliable partner precisely thanks to the policy of Azerbaijani president and his leadership. They trust Azerbaijan because they trust President Ilham Aliyev, and are eager to learn from him.

Speaking at an official dinner given in honor of President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva in Budapest on January 30, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that he needs to learn from President Ilham Aliyev how to become more successful on the international arena.

"I have learned so much from President Aliyev in the last ten years in how to lead the country so well in a very complex environment. Unfortunately, I couldn’t learn everything he knows. Because we are on the radical side, whereas he is a politician known for his more moderate views. I need to learn from him how to become more successful on the international arena in a moderate way," he said.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has also repeatedly expressed his admiration for the skills of President Ilham Aliyev as head of state.

On November 23, 2022, at a joint press conference with Azerbaijani president in Belgrade, Vucic said that Serbia believe in President Ilham Aliyev's word more than into any signature.

"Ilham Aliyev is the most popular man in Europe now," said Vucic. "I am really happy to see how friend of mine, and a great friend of Serbia succeeded and he didn’t change. He is a man who has always kept his country safe, respected his own country and took care of his own country and interests of his own country."

And before that, speaking at the commercial launch ceremony of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) in Sofia on October 1, 2022, Vucic noted that without the participation of President Ilham Aliyev, it is unlikely that there could hope for the diversification of gas and electricity supply.

"I must emphasize that without the participation of our friend President Ilham Aliyev, it is unlikely that each of us could hope for diversification of gas and electricity supply," he said.

At the same event, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, noted that President Ilham Aliyev helped Europe at a difficult moment.

"Thanks to such projects [such as IGB], Europe will have enough gas for the winter. We worked very hard last month to achieve this goal. The first step was to diversify away from Russian gas in favor of other reliable suppliers. President Ilham Aliyev helped us at a difficult moment, for this purpose I paid a visit to Azerbaijan in July, and also visited Norway, the US, Algeria and many other countries that helped us at this critical moment," she said.

The wise and far-sighted policy of President Ilham Aliyev helped in fact to find a way out of the most difficult circumstances. President Ilham Aliyev has become the first head of state to put forward the idea of promoting coordination in the oil market between OPEC and non-OPEC countries.

The late OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo once called the idea of President Ilham Aliyev an innovative and far-sighted proposal.

"At the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev initially proposed the idea of advancing oil market coordination between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producing countries to help address the severe downturn in the oil market from 2014-2016. He was the first head of state to give his backing to such an innovative and forward-looking proposal. President Aliyev was ahead of the curve, and we returned to his wisdom when 24 oil producing nations, including Azerbaijan, agreed at the first OPEC non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting on 10 December 2016 in Vienna, on a concerted effort to accelerate the stabilization of the global oil market through voluntary production adjustments," Barkindo said.

Today, thanks to the multifaceted policy of President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan is not only a regional player, but also a country that impacts solving of global problems. Azerbaijan is looked up to, the country's voice is heard from the highest tribunes. The growing influence of President Ilham Aliyev strengthens the political power of the country and gathers important allies and partners from around the world.