Auteur: | By Lucia Kubosova
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Bulgaria is trying to get the green light to keep using the term "evro" to refer the bloc's common currency - but earlier failed demands from other new member states cast doubts on Sofia's chances to succeed.
Bulgarian State Administration Minister Nikolay Vasilev is meeting EU council officials in Brussels on Friday (10 November) to debate the issue.
The European Central Bank requires that Sofia, which will enter the EU in January, switches from the current version of its translation to "eyro" (euro) - pronounced and written with a "u" instead of a "v" - in line with current EU rules stating the word euro must be identical for all member states.
The Frankfurt-based bank, backed by the European Commission, rejects official language-specific variations due to difficulties in modifying the design of euro coins, according to Bulgarian press reports.
But Bulgaria argues that the word "evro" is already officially a part of the south-east Balkan country's language, following its codification by national linguists back in 1995, and the same form has been used in its EU accession treaty.
The dispute involves different opinions on the correct "cyrilization" of the currency's name as the EU has to take into consideration the Bulgarian (Cyrillic) and Greek alphabets.
While the ECB is pressing for "eyro" - as is used for the Latin transcription of the Greek name written in Greek characters, Bulgarians argue this version would be a completely new and artificial doublet in their country.
Language disputes over the correct translation of the term "euro" have already come up several times following the EU's 2004 enlargement round.
Originally, five out of ten countries - Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta and Slovenia - demanded to use their own national spelling but most of them backed down after the EU's insistence to stick to the same spelling rule.
Latvia is however still lobbying for its case, with the government announcing earlier this year that it is ready to go to the EU court if necessary and defend its right to use "eiro" instead of euro in official translations.
"Euro" is a non-existent word in Latvian, as Latvian grammar and phonetics do not allow for an "eu" diphthong.
The issue is still controversial also in Malta where linguists insist that the country should stick to "ewro" as commonly used on the island - despite the European Commission and ECB's resistance - but the Maltese government has dropped the complaint.