Re: Euro

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Tue Oct 21 1997 - 14:46:55 EDT

Sandra Martin O'Donnell asked:
> . . .
> >The position of the Unicode Consortium is that U+20A0 is inappropriate to
> >use for the Euro (i.e., it has a different meaning). It isn't a glyph
> >issue; we consider them two different symbols.
> . . .
> >>Question: does position 20A0 for the ECU or EURO ?
> >Neither. It's for "an undefined, future pan-European currency." When
> >the Euro comes into existence, it won't be "undefined," and it won't be
> >"future," hence U+20A0 isn't appropriate to use for it.
> . . .
> I understand that the Consortium has made this decision,
> and I have no intention to fight it, but am I the only one
> who feels lost reading this logic? It sounds like 20A0
> was intended as a place-holder for a pan-European currency.
> Now the Euro has been defined as a pan-European currency.

I had my own problems with the logic of that response. But think
of it this way:

U+20A0 was *not* intended as a place-holder for a pan-European currency
       in Unicode/10646.

U+20A0 *was* encoded as a compatibility character for the Xerox XCCS
       encoded character 357/245, whose name in that character
       set is "European currency symbol", and whose intent we
       *surmise* was to be a place-holder for a pan-European
       currency. U+20A0 got its name in Unicode/10646 (EURO-CURRENCY
       SIGN) based on the name of the XCCS character, but at the time
       U+20A0 was added to Unicode (1990, predating the Treaty of
       Maastricht), there was no such thing as a "Euro" currency.

After debate in UTC and WG2 about simply "fixing the glyph" for
U+20A0 to make it serve for *the* Euro (= EUR), better heads
prevailed, and it was decided to simply add a character that
had neither the published history with a completely different
glyph than used for the Euro nor an ambiguous and ill-defined
semantic value.

If better heads had prevailed among the European Commission,
and the new currency had been named "Ecu" or "Solidus" or
"Mark" or whatever, instead of "Euro", we wouldn't be having
this debate about U+20A0 at all, and no one would be confussed [sic].

Now everyone please repeat several times after me:

   U+20AC EURO SIGN is the Unicode/10646 character for the Euro.

Can we please stop flogging this dead horse!


> It seems strange to reserve something undefined for future
> use, but then not use it because the now-present, defined
> item isn't "undefined" or "future" anymore. How could you
> ever use this slot?
> The argument that the ECU and Euro are different currencies
> seems more compelling.
> -----------------------
> Sandra Martin O'Donnell

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