No 'eira' - but 'eiro' will do

  • 2004-10-06
  • By TBT staff
RIGA - Latvia's government stuck to its guns last week and said the Latvian name of the single currency should remain "eiro" despite insistence from the European Central Bank that the name be "euro" in all member-state countries that adopt the currency.

Finance Ministry officials announced at a government meeting on Sept. 30 that the ECB objected to four new EU member states using a different version of euro. But the ministry said Latvia should retain the name "eiro," since it is derived from the Latvian word for Europe - "Eiropa."

Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks said the four new member states, including Lithuania, Slovenia and Hungary, could not agree over a uniform name to be used in their national languages due to factors related to national culture. He noted that it would not be easy for Latvia to defend this position in Europe.

Upon introducing the euro the European Commission said that all member states should use the same name for the currency, and recently reminded member states that this decision should be enacted.

Greece is the only member state where the common name of the EU currency is not used because of their alphabet.

The terminology commission of the Academy of Science recently said that the official Latvian name should be "eira," since it is more easily declinable. The statement elicited a wide range of commentary among politicians and the public including Education Minister Juris Radzevics, who told the Cabinet that he had asked the terminology commission to revise its decision regarding "eira."