EU’s internet domain name .eu: European Council approves agreement on updated governance
The .eu is the EU’s top-level internet domain name under which any person, organisation or business based in the EU – and soon any European citizen living outside the EU as well – can register their own domain name. The .eu governance rules are being revised, and today member states’ ambassadors endorsed the provisional agreement on this reform, which was reached by the presidency with the European Parliament on 5 December.
.eu is an essential building block for European online identity. It is important that its governance structures are up to date and future-proof, so that this easily recognisable label can continue to foster innovation and encourage European businesses and citizens to be active in the online single market.
Norbert Hofer, Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology of Austria, President of the Council, has said that the .eu top-level domain has over 700 accredited registrars worldwide and a registry operator based in Belgium. The revision maintains the current rule that the registry must be a non-profit organisation, as is also common practice elsewhere in the world.
The governance of the .eu domain will be made more transparent by setting up a multi-stakeholder group to advise the Commission on the implementation of the rules. Its members will include representatives from the private sector, civil society and international organisations, among others.
EU citizens will have the right to register a .eu top-level domain name regardless of their place of residence.
With nearly 4 million registrations, the .eu top-level domain is one of the largest international country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). It contributes to a safe and secure online environment and ensures a pan-European presence in the global digital marketplace.
Procedure and next steps
The provisional agreement, which was reached in a single ‘trilogue’ meeting with the Parliament, was confirmed by ambassadors in the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee.
The agreed text will now undergo legal and linguistic finalisation. It must then be formally adopted, first by the Parliament and then by the Council. Following adoption, the regulation will be published in the EU’s Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after publication.
The rules will apply from 13 October 2022, except for the broadened registration possibility for EU citizens, which will become applicable six months after the entry into force of the regulation.
The reform is part of the EU’s efforts to create a fully-fledged digital single market.