Saturday, September 11, 2004

The ministers decide

Having gathered in the Hague this weekend to sort out the intractable economic problems of the EU, the budget, rebate, fiscal dumping and all that, the EU finance ministers stormed into action to deal with an even greater threat – member countries misspelling the word "euro".

From now on, according to a diktat handed down by the assembly, there shall be only one approved spelling and no deviation shall be tolerated. Penalties for misuse will be settled later.

The issue arose when the finance ministers of Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia pointed out that different spellings were in use in their countries to ease its pronunciation. Some in the eastern countries who were having difficulties "euro" had been spelling and saying it as "euria".

This is not "helpful to create unity and clarity in Europe", said Dutch Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm, after he and his colleagues had managed to squash this attempt at diversity. "See how decisive ministers sometimes can be!" he added.

Next on the agenda is the question of whether the official plural is "euro" or "euros", when the ministers will again revert to their decisive mode.

Meanwhile, a lone journalist, heard wandering off singing, "you say euro, and I say euros", was quickly arrested. He will be sentenced yesterday, after being found guilty of diversity.

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