The European Union, a big word that represent a community where I’m part of ! Our small country Belgium actually holds the center of this community, so in a way I’m proud.
But if you look closely there are gaps in the design… the community has a lot of problems that need to be resolved to keep it working fluently ( the design for one European law springs to mind ). Now let me share you a small story about something so trivial that it just seems silly that it hasn’t been corrected yet !
Let’s take an example as reference, just so everyone understands the example I’m addressing. The United States of America is one good example of a Union like structure ! And I mean the design, so no interpretation what soever about the current implementation. But like I said it’s a good reference.
What do you think should a Union have in common ? Well let me tell you, 3 things actually :
1. One monetary system
2. One metric system
3. One law ( maybe should include one police force/army )
Well apart from the one law, the EU is far from this design ! We still have a metric system that isn’t used in Great Britain and the Euro isn’t used there either. But you could argue that we are moving in the right direction… and that’s true, because things are moving and the result should be more like an Union.
But what bothers me the most is the inability the EU has in making any decisions ( my opinion ). Let’s get back to the one monetary system…
What on earth were they thinking when they decided to force the use of the Euro ? “Oh just let everyone do their thing with this new system…” ?? Well that is just the thought they had !!
Let me put it in one simple question : How would you write the amount sixty euros using numbers and the € sign ?
If you would think this is an easy question you are wrong !! If you think you have the correct answer fast, you could be dead wrong too !!
Examples of writing ( pick your choice ):
* € 60
* 60 €
So in other words, there is no unified way of writing this mentioned in any EU document ( no to my knowledge ) ! Doesn’t this seem odd ? Why hasn’t this been presented… remember my reference, well how should it look like when the people of the USA would use a different writing on the East coast as the ones on the West coast ? It would just look plain stupid, well here in the EU this is just a common fact !! I just don’t get it, why hasn’t this been addressed during the roll out of the Euro ? It would only seem natural to have the same writing in all EU countries.
So for all the non believers ( I was one to start with ), let me show you my search path and you shall see that this ‘typo’ is true !
Let’s start with the obvious search of all, Wikipedia ( not the most correct source, but by far the easiest to search ).
The result can be found here and it states : Placement of the sign is also an example of diversity. Partly since there are no official standards on placement, countries have generated varying conventions or sustained those of their former currencies.
Nice, my first search result already acknowledges my speculation… but still my hope wasn’t gone yet. So I searched the reference material in my own country and I found 2 specific websites that can be seen here ( KU Leuven ) and here ( taaladvies.net ), mind you both in dutch. But here the result is that we in Belgium should use the writing like this € 60, so in other words first the Euro sign, then a space and then the amount.
Thank God I thought, there is an unified way, even though it would only be in Belgium ( but I guess each country has it own standard ). So I lived happily ever after, NOT ! Only a few days after this, just by accident I found another website ! But this time one on a higher level, one of the European commission, one to my knowledge of the people who reside in our own capital Brussels. So even though I was expecting some back up to my previous search results, this got worse. Their standard is to use 2 different writings, one for the English language and one for all others ( who in the world writes these standards ) !!
So if you are a English writer you should write : € 60 but all others ( me included ) should write 60 € !
The details can be found here…
Nice… so now I’m stuck with a moral problem… do I follow my instinct and the dutch pages I found and still write € 60 or do I use the European standard ( mind you this is a publications office standard, that is only supposed to be used internally ) 60 €.
What do you people think ??