EU pledges to solve ‘evro’ problem soon

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – The European Union pledged yesterday to quickly solve a dispute over the spelling of its common currency in Bulgarian, clearing the way for the signing of an agreement on closer ties with Montenegro, diplomats said. Sofia had threatened to delay the signature in its battle for the right to use the Bulgarian name «evro» for the currency in its Cyrillic alphabet, despite resistance from the European Central Bank. At a dawn meeting in Luxembourg, EU ambassadors approved a declaration vowing to solve the problem as soon as possible, in line with a 1995 summit decision on the currency’s name. «A decision will have to be made as soon as possible in order to solve this technical-linguistic problem,» the EU’s 27 governments said in the declaration. Bulgaria, which joined the EU this year, is not expected to adopt the euro until well after 2010. The ECB stuck to its guns yesterday, saying the euro should be spelled the same way in all EU countries. «The euro must have a single spelling in all countries, taking into account different alphabets,» an ECB spokesman said. Diplomats said the text was sufficient for Sofia to allow the signing of a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Montenegro, the most recent independent state to emerge from the former Yugoslavia after it broke with Serbia last year. But Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev would make clear at a summit later this week that Bulgaria will not sign an EU reform treaty in December unless it obtains satisfaction on the «evro» by then, they said.

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