European Commission Announcement

In March 2018, the European Commission made an announcement regarding .eu domain names – see https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/eu-domain-names_en for full details. In summary this specified that (subject to any transitional agreement):

  • UK businesses and individuals will no longer be able to register new .eu domain names
  • UK businesses and individuals will not be able to renew existing .eu domain names
  • The registry for .eu domains will be entitled to revoke .eu domains for which the holder no longer fulfils the EU location or residency criteria.

 

When Will the Announcement Come into Effect?

If there is a withdrawal agreement in place, the announcement will be effective as of 1st January 2021. However, if there is no withdrawal agreement (the ‘no deal’ scenario) then the effective date will be 31st March 2019.

 

Does the Withdrawal Agreement Specify Anything to Help?

The withdrawal agreement text (as linked from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration) does not specify anything regarding .eu domain names. So as of December 2018 there is no transitional agreement.

 

What to Do If You Have a .eu Domain Already and Wish to Retain It?

If you’re a UK business and use an .eu domain as your primary domain, you have a few options available:

1) If your business has a subsidiary/office in the EU, update the registrant details to reflect that subsidiary. This must be done soon, before the changes come into effect.

OR

2) Move to a new domain.

For most businesses, moving to a new domain can be achieved (from a technical point of view) fairly easily – websites, email mailboxes etc. can be migrated. However, the bigger issue is in the cases where your visitors and customers have got used to your existing domain, plus potential reprinting of business stationary and marketing materials. If you do wish to move to a new domain, it’s important to do this soon as you can put automatic redirects etc. in place. If you wait until the announcement comes into effect, the domain could be revoked which would mean you would not be able to do redirects.

 

Next Steps

If you would like to any assistance with domains (.eu or others) or any other website related matter, please do contact us.

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