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IP/09/1044

Brussels, 26 June 2009

'.eu' internet domain to be available also in Cyrillic and Greek alphabets

Speakers of Bulgarian and Greek will soon be able to have .eu websites in their own languages. The European Commission today adopted new EU rules to make it possible for internet users and businesses to register domain names under .eu using the characters of all the 23 official languages of the European Union, now including Cyrillic and Greek scripts. This means that later this year .eu will also be available in the alphabets used by Bulgarians, Greeks and Cypriots and special characters used in other languages. Until now, Czechs could only use 27 of 42 characters, and Lithuanians 23 of 32. A new report of the Commission on the development of Europe's top level domain, published today, shows that the number of .eu domain names registered (currently at around 3 million) grew by 11  % in both 2007 and 2008.

"Three years after its launch, .eu has become the valued option for an increasing number of businesses and citizens who want to choose a European internet identity. Opting for .eu is a very simple way for businesses to show that they are established in one of the 27 EU countries and subject to the high standards of EU legislation, particularly when it comes to data protection, consumer rules or the EU's financial market regulations," said Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "It is only natural then that the domain names chosen by Europeans be permitted to be as diverse as Europe itself. This is why we have decided that .eu should become available in all alphabets used in the Member States and allow for all characters used in the 23 official languages of the European Union."

The European Commission today amended the rules for .eu so that it is possible for internet users to register .eu domain names using different alphabets such as Cyrillic or Greek.

Until now, domain names registered under the .eu top level domain could only contain the characters "a" to "z", digits "0" to "9" and "-". In future, it will be possible to register names using characters such as "à", "ą", "ä", "ψ" or "д" under ".eu". EU citizens and businesses will be able to register domain names in non-Latin scripts, which is essential for languages such as Greek and Bulgarian. At present, Bulgaria has one of the lowest number of registered .eu domains, at 9   578 (see annex).

It is expected that the new rules will further strengthen the attractiveness of Europe's top level domain name. To register for a .eu, domain name, web users must be established in one of the 27 EU Member States.

New figures published today by the European Commission show that .eu's popularity continues to grow three years after its launch. The number of .eu domain names registered grew by 11  % in both 2007 and 2008.

This was helped by the fact that the registration cost fell from €10 to €5 in 2007, and again to €4 in 2008. .eu is growing particularly quickly in Eastern Europe, with the number of domains up 149% in Poland between 2006 and 2008, and 142% in Lithuania.

.eu has succeeded in becoming Europe's fourth most popular country code top level domain, surpassed only by .de (Germany), .uk (United Kingdom) and .nl (Netherlands). .eu is the ninth most used domain worldwide. For the first time, the official website of the Swedish EU Presidency can be found under a ‘.eu’ domain name: www.se2009.eu .

Background

Since first opening up to all EU residents and organisations established in the EU in April 2006 ( IP/06/476 ), .eu has succeeded in gaining public favour. By its first anniversary, 2.5 million .eu domain names had been registered ( IP/07/483 ), another 300,000 domain names were added in 2007 ( IP/08/530 ; IP/09/536 ).

Management of .eu is entrusted to EURid , an independent non-profit organisation. EURid is preparing for the official launch of internationalised domain names under .eu

Today's progress report on .eu is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/doteu/

MEMO/08/218

http://www.eurid.eu/

For the most recent .eu statistics: http://status.eurid.eu/

Annex

Ten largest top level domains by number of registered domain names (as of march 2009)

TLD

Number of
registered domains

.com

79   439   607

.cn

13   854   687

.de

12   652   025

.net

12   099   536

.org

7   472   142

.uk

7   382   123

.info

5   137   681

.nl

3   285   095

.eu (*)

3   049   034

.biz

2   025   576

Source: http://domainsinfo.fr/ .

(*) The number of registrations for .eu is updated daily on: http://www.eurid.eu/en/about/facts-figures/statistics .

Number of .eu domains by country of residence of registrants (as of March 2009)

Country

Number of .eu domains
March 2009

Austria

74   767

Belgium

92   404

Bulgaria

9   578

Cyprus

53   051

Czech Republic

82   020

Denmark

45   167

Estonia

8   179

Finland

14   876

France

251   744

Germany

930   467

Greece

25   169

Hungary

29   148

Ireland

59   612

Italy

166   454

Latvia

7   166

Lithuania

9   416

Luxembourg

27   256

Malta

2   916

Netherlands

415   474

Poland

176   328

Portugal

11   789

Romania

20   204

Slovakia

18   609

Slovenia

6   385

Spain

70   390

Sweden

81   979

United Kingdom

377   820

Source: EURid.

Growth of .eu domains 2006-2008 by country of residence of registrants

Country

Growth of .eu domains
2006-2008*

Austria

+27  %

Belgium

+23  %

Bulgaria**

+58  %

Cyprus

-41  %

Czech Republic

+65  %

Denmark

+18  %

Estonia

+43  %

Finland

+57  %

France

+56  %

Germany

+19  %

Greece

+44  %

Hungary

+32  %

Ireland

+94  %

Italy

+14  %

Latvia

0  %

Lithuania

+142  %

Luxembourg

+95  %

Malta

-85  %

Netherlands

+36  %

Poland

+149  %

Portugal

-2  %

Romania**

+40  %

Slovakia

+74  %

Slovenia

+71  %

Spain

+33  %

Sweden

-10  %

United Kingdom

-14  %

EU

+22  %

*from 31.12.2006 to 31.12.2008.

** Figures for Bulgaria and Romania refer to 2007-2008, since registration of ‘.eu’ domains started after their accession to the EU on 1 January 2007.

Source: EURid.

.eu registrations per country (as of 23 June 2009)



Source: EURid

.eu registrations by month (as of 23 June 2009)



Source EURid


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