Monday, 3 May 2010

Greece: 110,000 million Euro & smiling faces

Diplomatically spoken: I took note of the Eurogroup statement issued Sunday evening.

I don't want to talk about the decision itself, it's big enough for the traditional media to notice, so why spend a blog post on the matter? Just wanted to leave a little comment regarding EU communication:

If I was responsible for the press releases at the Spanish EU Council Presidency, I wouldn't have written "110,000 million" when I could have written "110 billion" and I wouldn't have chosen a photo with smiling faces for a press release announcing an international aid package that should leave anybody involved sweating and crying.*

But luckily, I am neither responsible for the Spanish presidency's communication nor for financial decisions that are beyond human imagination.

* Alan Fisher at "The Europe Blog" has a much more appropriate picture for the news.


martinned said...

This is probably an issue of hypercorrect English. In proper English-English, a billion is a million million, while in American-English a billion is a thousand million. Writing "110,000 million" avoids that potential confusion, not to mention that it is the only correct way to put it in traditional UK English.

Cf. wiki.

Aussie said...

In spanish the word "billion" is a million million, maybe the original text was written in spanish and therefore was translated directly.

It is quite usual to find mistakes in the spanish media about the figures when they are refering to millions-billions-trillions, and the original version is written in english.

Julien Frisch said...

I just find that 110,000 million looks weird and more "frightening" than than 110 billion. So my remark was more about the psychologic effect than about the linguistic correctness.

Mathias Schwartz Kirkegaard said...

A billlion is also a million millions in Denmark, so the danish media will translate it to 110 milliarder.

Julien Frisch said...

As I've said above: 110,000 million just looks worse than 110 billion (or milliard), I didn't say it was wrong.

Anne said...

About the smiling faces on

You are quite right!

But some people smile when they are nervous ;-)