More than 300,000 British firms and individuals could be kicked off their .eu websites after Brexit.
According to recent figures, about 10% of the .eu registered domains are based in the UK. But the trading bloc has decreed that UK-registered websites will no longer qualify for .eu web addresses post-Brexit.
Apparently without consulting EURID, the hosting company, it has ruled that only EU-based firms and individuals will be allowed to register or renew .eu websites after the final withdrawal date and that won’t include post-Brexit Britain.
Latest figures, according to The Register – an online tech publication with more than nine million monthly unique browsers worldwide, suggest there could be 317,000 .eu websites registered from the UK, all of which will have to choose a different top level domain, such as .co.uk, .uk, .gov or .com, to continue their web presence after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
At the end of March, the European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, published a Notice to Stakeholders under the heading Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and .EU Domain Names.
After outlining the origins of the .eu domain and the bloc’s ownership of it, it said: “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.
“In accordance with Article 4(2)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 733/2002, the following persons are eligible to register .eu domain names: (i) undertakings having their registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the EU; (ii) organisations established within the EU (without prejudice to the application of national law); and (iii) natural persons resident within the EU.
“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.”
David Pearson, Director of Partnerships and Membership Services at East Midlands Chamber, said: “The threat is very clear; the EU intends to kick UK-based .eu domain users off their .eu websites as soon as possible after Brexit.
“It is not yet clear whether the EU means to enact this cleansing immediately as it’s a year since Article 50 was invoked, whether it will happen on or about 29 March 2019 which is two years after Article 50 was invoked or whether it will be after any agreed transition period
“The Chamber’s advice today to any UK-based organisation using a .eu domain, would be to try to change it as soon as possible to one of the more welcoming domain hosts such as .co.uk or .com if not already owned and to ensure all traffic through the .eu site is forwarded to the alternative address until either the EU shuts us out or you can easily walk away from the .eu address.”