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IP/02/340

Brussels, 28 February 2002

Commission welcomes European Parliament's endorsement of '.eu' Internet domain name

The European Commission welcomes today's adoption by the European Parliament, in its second reading, of its Recommendation on the draft Regulation to implement the '.eu' Internet top-level domain, allowing European citizens, organisations and businesses to have '.eu' web-site and e-mail addresses http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/topics/telecoms/internet/eu_domain/index_en.htm. "The .eu domain will increase choice for European businesses and citizens, accelerate the uptake of Internet use and reinforce e-commerce across the European Internal Market," said European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen. "It will allow, for example, a company with branches in several or all EU countries to reflect their Europe-wide presence on the Internet. As such it is a tangible manifestation of the European Union in cyberspace." This vote clears the way for a final adoption by the EU's Council of Ministers.

The new domain name is seen as a new member of the European Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) family. It therefore complements the existing European country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), such as '.de', '.fr' and '.uk', which exist alongside generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) such as '.com', '.org' and '.info'.

The European Commission sees '.eu' as an opportunity to increase the use of the Internet in Europe, one of the key objectives of the eEurope 2002 action plan, launched following the Lisbon Summit in March 2000. It will be a key enabler for European electronic commerce, allowing a new breed of '.eu' e-commerce web-sites to do business across the Internal Market. It is also expected that it will lead to a higher visibility of the European 'brand' in the virtual marketplace based on the Internet.

After today's vote by the European Parliament, the '.eu' Regulation is expected to be adopted very soon at a forthcoming Council of Ministers meeting. The Commission will then be able to begin the procedure for the selection of the private sector, non-profit organisation to operate the '.eu' Registry, which will administer and manage the registration of '.eu' Domain Names.

Commissioner Liikanen pointed out that Commission and Parliament share the view that the new '.eu' Top Level Domain should not be burdened by an excessive regulatory framework. "This Regulation provides the basis for the implementation of the '.eu' Top Level Domain. However some other measures of public interest still need to be agreed, such as a policy for the extra-judicial settlement of disputes".

He assured the European Parliament this morning that "the Commission shall do the utmost to ensure that the relevant procedures are completed promptly to allow the '.eu' Registry to become operational as early as possible."

"If we get the support from the Member States, and I have no doubt that they will help us as much as they can," he added later, ".eu domain names could be available by the end of the year."


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