Spelling of 'Euro' Creates Unexpected Headache
As if the arguments over the Stability and Growth Pact and EU corporate tax harmonization were not enough, a new and problem was presented to finance ministers by European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet informed ministers that the word 'euro' was being spelled differently across Europe. In Slovenia, for example, it is called 'evro'. Latvians - if and when they join the common currency - will pay with 'eiro' and in Hungary, the word has an accent. This contravenes a regulation drawn up by EU leaders in 1997 that the word must be spelled 'euro' in all official languages. Greece, however, is exempt because it has a different alphabet. Dutch Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm said, "we were surprised to find that this problem existed, but we solved it," joking, "you see how decisive finance ministers can sometimes be." However, he was flummoxed by a question asking what form the plural should take. Some use 'euro', others 'euros.' The problem is unlikely to arise in the new member states for a few years. Although all ten new entrants to the EU club are treaty-bound to join the single currency, none is likely to do so before 2007.