EC Confirms April Directive: EU Registrants in UK, And Anywhere Else In The World, Can Register .EU Domains

The European Commission last week updated its announcement earlier in the year confirming citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area, including those in the UK following Brexit (if it ever happens), will be able to keep .eu domain names. But British citizens who aren’t dual nationals with citizenship of an EU country will remain ineligible. As will British businesses without a EU connection such as an office. The changes also mean that EU citizens anywhere in the world can register a .eu domain name.

And as The Guardian noted this week, the pro-Brexit “Leave.EU will be allowed to keep its name after a no-deal Brexit, the European commission has announced – but only if it transfers ownership of the domain name to an EU citizen.”

The update from the European Commission on 18 July, as the .eu registry EURid noted, came in an updated notice to stakeholders about the withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules on .eu domain names.

“The notice highlights that at the time of the UK withdrawal, EU citizens residents in UK may still keep their .eu domain name(s) thanks to the changes of the .eu eligibility criteria that as of 19 October 2019 will see the citizenship criteria added to the residency criteria.”

The EC announcement last week [pdf], dated 18 July, says “according to Article 4(2)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 733/2002, as amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/517, as of 19 October 2019 the following persons are eligible to register .eu domain names:

(i) a Union citizen, independently of their place of residence;

(ii) a natural person who is not a Union citizen and who is a resident of a Member State;

(iii) an undertaking that is established in the Union; or

(iv) an organisation that is established in the Union, without prejudice to the application of national law.”

As Domain Pulse reported in May, “a new set of rules for .eu came into being on 18 April which will be applicable from 13 October 2022, except for the article 20 that introduces eligibility to EU citizens residing in third countries, which should start applying as of six months after entering into force, that is, in October 2019. In the coming weeks EURid will inform all its stakeholders about the exact date when the new eligibility criteria apply.”

“The new rules have come about following a political agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on 5 December 2018 and are designed to support better quality and more innovative services on .eu.

“From 13 October 2022 there will be a legal flexibility for the .eu domain to adapt to rapid market changes and allow modernisation of its governance structure. A new body, bringing together stakeholders from different backgrounds, will advise the Commission on the management of the top-level domain.

“Article 20, which comes into being on 19 October 2019, will extend the right to register a .eu domain name to citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) residing outside the EU. This was previously limited to citizens living in countries within the EU and EEA. It will also offer some comfort to some citizens of the EU/EEA who have registered .eu domain names and reside in the UK if Brexit, assuming it happens, is drawn out long enough.”