European Commission Requires Website Owners To Relinquish .EU Names Prior To Brexit
The European Commission announced this week that United Kingdom-based companies and residents who own .eu country code top-level domain names (ccTLDs) must enter into a “withdrawal agreement” from those domain names after Britain’s departure from the European Union goes into effect and the UK becomes a “third country.”
Brexit, scheduled to take effect on March 30, 2019, will have a major impact on companies that run .eu ccTLDs. Approximately 317,000 .eu domains are registered in the UK — about one-tenth of the registry’s total, according to one report.
“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,” according to the statement.
The official statement from the EU Commission also suggests that existing .eu domains could be cancelled the moment Brexit goes into effect, with no right of appeal.
“As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organisations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or, if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date,” according to the statement.
One reason for revoking the domain names can be found in the policy titled Digital Single Market. The document describes a marketing initiative to “boost the viability of the European Union on the internet, increase users’ choice of domain names, and promote the development of electronic commerce.”