Confusing and uncertainty still reigns over the fate of Brexit and UK company access to .eu top level domain names.
The .eu registry EURid was due to begin the process of reclaiming .eu domains from organisations based solely in the UK on March 28. However, due to the fluid nature of Brexit it has postponed these plans.
On their site they have posted a Brexit notice stating that: “Due to ongoing uncertainties over the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, EURid has placed on hold any plan regarding domain names registered to individuals and undertakings located in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar.”
Previously organisations and enterprise in the UK were pre-warned by the Government that a no deal Brexit means the end of their .eu top level domain name.
A government guidance notice from the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has stated that: “The EU regulatory framework for the .eu Top Level Domain will no longer apply to the UK as from the withdrawal date.”
The guidance is urging organisations, undertakings and individuals to inform themselves of the potential legal repercussion they may face as the UK leaves the European Union.
The notice points out that: “If you are a UK resident, UK company or organisation planning to acquire an internet domain registration under .eu, you may no longer be eligible to acquire and register a .eu domain. If the UK exits the EU without a deal, you should check whether you remain eligible after exit on 29 March 2019.”
Brexit Uncertainty and .EU Domain
Currently there are 273,060 .eu registered sites in the UK, placing the UK as the fourth largest holder of .eu domains following France (336,616), the Netherlands (502,173) and Germany (989,432)
According to the EURid registry Q3 report which measures the .eu top level domain, the UK has seen a 10 percent decrease in .eu domain registrations since Q3 2017, signalling some awareness of the issues as companies avoid the top level domain in favour of alternatives such as .com and .uk
The warnings are not just emanating from the UK government with regards to the .eu domain. The European Commission has also strongly advised organisations and enterprise in the UK to familiarise themselves with the rules regarding ownership of a .eu domain, as they say the UK will become a ‘third country’ on March 30th.
To be eligible for a .eu domain you need to have a registered office, principal place of business or a central administration located within the European Union.
An EU notice warned “Subject to any transitional arrangement that may be contained in a possible withdrawal agreement, the EU regulatory framework for the .eu Top Level Domain will no longer apply to the United Kingdom as from the withdrawal date.”
They are also warning that the Registry for .eu domains will be entitled to revoke any domain names it finds to be outside of the requirements and it is able to do this: “On its own initiative and without submitting the dispute to any extrajudicial settlement of conflicts in accordance.”