Monday

4th Mar 2024

Latvia prepared to fight spelling of 'eiro' in court

Latvia has announced that it will stick to the national spelling of the single European currency, the "eiro", fuelling a year-long quarrel with the European Central Bank (ECB) over euro spelling mainstreaming.

At a cabinet meeting in Riga on Tuesday (3 January), Latvian ministers unanimously voted against EU linguistic conformity and for sticking to the "ei" spelling of the euro, set to replace the Latvian lat in 2008.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Ministers also said they would defend the decision before the European Court of Justice if necessary, according to press reports.

"This is not caprice on the part of Latvians. It is a very important issue which threatens the fundamental values of the EU, such as equality and identity", Latvia's education minister Ina Druviete was quoted as saying.

"Even if all other countries were to use euro, we will never give up and will continue to use eiro."

Latvians refer to the common European currency as the eiro in translations of EU documents into Latvian as well as in daily speech.

"Euro" is a non-existent word in Latvian, as Latvian grammar and phonetics do not allow for an "eu" diphthong.

The European Central Bank (ECB) president Jean-Claude Trichet in September last year officially objected to the Latvian spelling, arguing that the common currency is the euro and that having a single currency with the same spelling is "frankly natural."

The ECB also claims that the Latvian spelling contravenes a 1997 decision by EU leaders that "euro" must be written "euro" in all official languages, with only Greece allowed to opt-out from the decision on the basis that it has a different alphabet.

David against Goliath

Latvia may get support from another small new member state if the matter goes all the way to the European courts, however.

Malta announced last month that it will spell the currency's name "ewro", with Latvian education ministers praising the decision, according to AFP.

"I praise small, brave Malta, which also staunchly defends its identity in the EU", Ms Druviete indicated.

But Lithuania and Hungary, which also have national spellings of "euro" that differ from the ECB standard have agreed to toe the bank's line.

The two countries will use their own spelling in daily life and the "euro" spelling in official texts.

EU docks €32m in funding to UN Gaza agency pending audit

The European Commission will release €50m out of €82m in funds for the UN aid agency (UNRWA) operating in Gaza. The remaining €32m will come pending an audit. The commission has received no evidence to support Israeli allegations against UNRWA.

'Outdated' rules bar MEP from entering plenary with child

During a plenary session in Strasbourg, an MEP was denied access to the chamber because he was carrying his young child, due to unforeseen circumstances. The episode shows parliament's rules need to be updated, several MEPs told EUobserver.

Commission plays down row over Rwanda minerals pact

The European Commission has played down a diplomatic row over its recent minerals agreement with Rwanda, after Congolese president Felix Tshishekedi, who accuses Rwanda of plundering his country's natural resources, described the deal as a "provocation in very bad taste".

Opinion

Why are the banking lobby afraid of a digital euro?

Europeans deserve a digital euro that transcends the narrow interests of the banking lobby and embodies the promise of a fairer and more competitive monetary and financial landscape.

'Outdated' rules bar MEP from entering plenary with child

During a plenary session in Strasbourg, an MEP was denied access to the chamber because he was carrying his young child, due to unforeseen circumstances. The episode shows parliament's rules need to be updated, several MEPs told EUobserver.

Opinion

Why are the banking lobby afraid of a digital euro?

Europeans deserve a digital euro that transcends the narrow interests of the banking lobby and embodies the promise of a fairer and more competitive monetary and financial landscape.

Latest News

  1. EU socialists fight battle on two fronts in election campaign
  2. EU docks €32m in funding to UN Gaza agency pending audit
  3. 'Outdated' rules bar MEP from entering plenary with child
  4. Commission plays down row over Rwanda minerals pact
  5. EU socialists set to anoint placeholder candidate
  6. Why are the banking lobby afraid of a digital euro?
  7. Deepfake dystopia — Russia's disinformation in Spain and Italy
  8. Putin's nuclear riposte to Macron fails to impress EU diplomats

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us