European leaders seek to replace .com

The European Commission yesterday reported on comments made following the February publication of a working paper on the .eu domain. The EC also announced the next steps to creating the new domain to the European Parliament.

Some 92 responses had been received by the EC, including six from national administrations, 28 from industry organisations (including eight telecom operators) and a number of domain name registrars.

While the EC initially saw the .eu suffix as a complement to country level domains such as, it seems other European governments and business leaders think this does not go far enough.

According to the feedback, these parties want .eu established alongside .com and .org as a new generic top-level domain (gTLD). They also want rules on registering domain names tightened up to exclude cyber squatters and non-European businesses operating ecommerce facilities unless they pay EC taxes and agree to be bound by EC law.

This, they hope, would end disputes over cross-border consumer protection and jurisdiction, and would require non-European businesses to be registered in at least one European country if they wished to conduct ecommerce operations from a .eu domain. EC officials seem to agree with the feedback.

‘The Commission considers that the creation of the .eu domain would be a decisive element for accelerating e-economy and ecommerce in Europe at a time when the single currency will soon be a reality,’ said a statement.

‘It would give users who wish to operate across the internal market a specific European identification which will be recognised globally. Indirectly, it would also increase consumer confidence in the use of the internet among European users, since European law, data and consumer protection rules would apply.’

Users also want to end cyber squatting – registering domain names to sell on – by requiring would-be .eu website operators to be registered for VAT (or an equivalent) to show they are a genuine business.

The European Union has already informed the US government and Icann, the not for profit organisation which administers global domain names, that it plans to deploy .eu as a gTLD and that the EC will be the relevant public authority responsible for its management and administration.

The EC will then draw a legal framework for the implementation and operation of the .eu domain. It said this ‘will include measures to counter the speculative and abusive registration of names’. These conclusions will be presented to the European Parliament later in the year.

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