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A European Union Official Wants to Ban the Word ‘Bankruptcy’ and Instead Use a More Politically Correct Term


"[L]anguage police."

Flags of the European Union waving (Photo: AP/Yves Logghe)

A European Union draft plan would banish use of the word “bankruptcy” and in its place replace the term with the more palatable phrase “debt adjustment,” British media are reporting.

The European Union’s Directorate-General for Internal Policies Riccardo Ribera d’Alcala who authored the plan wrote, “The use of stigmatizing labels should be ended, and the pejorative term ‘bankruptcy’ should be replaced with the more neutral ‘debt adjustment.’”

Flags of the European Union waving (Photo: AP/Yves Logghe) Flags of the European Union waving (Photo: AP/Yves Logghe)

Britain’s Daily Mail, which referred to European officials as "language police," wrote of the language-engineering idea, “Italian Mr d’Alcala believes the word carries such a potent stigma that individuals who have suffered it struggle to persuade banks to lend them money to fund new ventures. If the terminology is changed, he thinks, creditors are more likely to be forthcoming.”

The Mail further explained that the idea is one part of a wider plan to coordinate financial policy across the EU “including making it less troublesome to open bank accounts in different countries and easier to escape from debt and be ‘given a second chance’.”

Conservative Member of the UK Parliament Brooks Newmark called the idea “another flawed, madcap scheme by Brussels.”

“This shows just how intellectually bankrupt – sorry, debt adjusted – the European Union has become,” Newmark told the Daily Mail.

A European Parliament spokesman told the Daily Mail, “I think it is a pity that you pick out  this one term to question from the entire document.”

“The report makes clear that the opinions expressed in the document are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament,” the unnamed spokesman added.

Among the other proposals in the document “are suggestions that banks should be penalised if inappropriate lending contributes to someone’s financial problems,” the British paper The Daily Telegraph reported.

The Telegraph noted that the word bankruptcy “has been in common parlance in the English word for more than 500 years.”

The plan is just the latest language-related decree proposed by the EU. In 2009, the European Parliament asked staff to stop using the female titles Miss and Mrs. and instead instructed that female members be addressed by their full names only. It also nixed the term “man-made.”

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