Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Malta triggered the rare linguistic showdown by refusing to accept the established usage in translations of the European constitution, calling it inelegant, inaccurate, or even gibberish in their languages.
They have all agreed to use the harmonised “euro” form on future notes and coins when they join the monetary union, but that was not good enough for Brussels.
All official EU texts must be spelt the same way even if it makes no sense in the Baltic languages.
The biggest headache is for the 3.5 million people of Lithuania, who would normally write euras, eurue, eura, euru, eure, eurai, eurams, eurus, eurais and eurose, depending on the word’s function in a sentence. The genitive in particular has caused tempers to fray.
In a letter to the Dutch EU presidency, the Lithuanian government insisted: “The non-inflective form of the term euro is unacceptable to the Lithuanian language.”
The Dutch offered a compromise yesterday that would insist on the “euro” spelling for all official EU texts such as the constitution, but let states vary usage in national documents provided the first three letters are “eur”. This is not much help to Latvia, where the word begins with “eir”.
That story is dated Oct. 13; I have not seen a resolution to this pressing issue, and I await the outcome with bated breath.
(Thanks for the link, Paul!)