Calling the UK 'Britain' in Slovakia is illegal and punishable by a fine

Chloe Farand
Under Slovakian law, the terms "Britain" and "Great Britain" are illegal: REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

The term "Great Britain" does not exist in Slovakia and using it could see you issued with a hefty fine.

The Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Authority of the Slovak Republic, a state institution which oversees this field of geography, has the power to issue a fine of €6,600 (£5,600) to anyone who uses the term in public office or in a professional setting.

The authority warned Slovakian media that according to a 1995 law, the country which comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island can only be called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or simply United Kingdom, the Associated Press reports.

The law effectively banned the use of "Britain" and "Great Britain" when referring to the country.

The Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Authority said it plans to organise training sessions on the appropriate terms to use before issuing fines.

The law also applies to the British embassy in Bratislava and Slovakia's Foreign Ministry, where staff are not protected from using the wrong word.

Peter Susko, a spokesman for Slovakia’s Foreign Office said the ministry uses the term United Kingdom in official documents and terms "understandable to people" in common communication.

Great Britain, also shortened to Britain, is not a country but it is the largest island of the British Isles and home to England, Scotland and Wales. Yet, it is sometimes loosely used to refer to the country of the UK.