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An agreement to reform the .eu top level domain name to provide a more flexible regulatory environment was today approved by the European Parliament.

The European Parliament today approved the reform of the .eu top level domain name (TLD) with 568 votes to 53 and 25 abstentions.

The new rules provide a more flexible regulatory environment to take into account the rapid evolution of the TLDs market and the digital landscape in general as much has changed since the first .eu top-level domain (TLDs) was used for the first time 13 years ago.

After the agreement was reached, the rapporteur Fredrick Federley (ALDE, Sweden) said: “I am pleased that the agreement strengthens rules on transparency, fairness and accountability and in particular, I am delighted that we have successfully strengthened provisions securing the principle of Rule of Law.”

EU/EEA citizens may register a .eu TLD even if they live outside of the EU

The new rules simplify the existing legal framework on the .eu top-level-domain and enable European/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) citizens to register for a .eu domain also outside of the EU, regardless of their country of residence.

Any person, who is not a Union citizen and who is resident of a member state, as well as organisations and undertakings established within the EU may also register a .eu TLD.

Safeguarding Union values

As requested by Parliament, the Commission will have to establish minimum requirements for circumstances, in which the registry is to block, suspend or revoke a domain name, which is considered by a court of a member state to be defamatory, racist or contrary to public policy or public security.

A .eu domain name may also be revoked if a .eu domain holder no longer fulfil the eligibility criteria e.g. if the holder no longer is an EU citizen and lives outside of the EU.

Multistakeholder Advisory Group

A .eu Multistakeholder Advisory Group will be set-up as requested by Parliament to advice the Commission on the management of the domain name and on the implementation of the present Regulation.

The Commission shall also present a report no later than five years after the date of application of this Regulation on the implementation, effectiveness and functioning of the .eu TLD name.

Next steps

The agreement now also has to be formally adopted by the Council after which it will be published in the Official Journal. The Regulation will enter into force in 20 days after its publication and shall apply from 13 October 2022 except for the provisions on who may register a .eu TLD. These provisions shall apply from six months after the entry into force of this Regulation.

Background

The .eu top level domain name has been available since 2005 and the .eu TLD is one of the largest country code TLD in the world with over 3.8 million registrations in 2017.

The existence of a specific domain name for the European Union under a very clear and identifiable common label is an important and valuable building block for the European online identity. The .eu TLD is used by all the Union institutions, agencies and bodies, including for their projects and initiatives.