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One of the definitions for the word “UNION” reads:
1 [count] : an organization of workers formed to protect the rights and interests of its members
(source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary )
Well, then let’s protect the rights and interests of the European Union members – or at least that is what I think it is expected to happen.
Note: most of the texts and ideas expressed here refers to languages, particularly to the European languages.
About thirty years ago, when the GSM standard was first developed and the SMS entered the commercial area, “they” decided that the SMS messaging will be used by English speaking users only. Or perhaps by a few French users also. But don’t forget the Germans. Then maybe it would be best to include most of the few so‑called “western” languages.
Those few “western” languages are given the chance to write anything that can include 160 of their language characters into a single message.
What, other languages exists on Earth ? OK, let’s be generous and allow 70 characters for a single message on these. These languages should be grateful that “they” admitted their existence.
In the following I will mostly refer to texts written in Latin and Cyrillic scripts, as used in Europe; however, the problem described here may apply to other scripts as well, all over the world.
In this document, by “writing correctly” a language, I mean using all national characters of that language, including accented characters, where applicable.
Sending a SMS text message over a GSM network has become a trivial practice for most of us. Although relatively cheap, sending a SMS text message still has a cost. The problem is that this cost is different, depending on the language used by the sender – even by the same sender, using the same device.
While building this site in a multilingual manner and because I was forced to use three letters for country code in order to differentiate the URL country code from the URL language code, I faced a problem: what should be the three-letter country code for the EU ? I mean the ISO 3166-1 aplha-3 codes . As far as I can tell, the ISO country codes standard deals with “countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geopolitical interest”.
Note: the term “geopolitical” is used in the actual text of the ISO 3166‑1:2014 standard, a detail that is omitted (or ignored ?) in Wikipedia description.
Finding nothing, I ended up using the “EUE” European Union laissez-passer user assigned code, only because I had to use something.
I was thinking that the European Union aspires to be recognized – sometimes in the future – as a state, more or less like the 3-letters USA. Or not ?
Knock, knock, ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency.