Europe has formally informed individuals and businesses in Britain that it will revoke the .EU domains that are held in the United Kingdom after Brexit unless a new deal is settled.
The European Commission wrote: “As of the [Brexit] withdrawal date, undertakings and organisations that are established in the UK but not in the EU … will no longer be eligible to register .EU domain names.”
It added that the existing .EU domains might be immediately cancelled after Brexit without a possibility of an appeal.
Early this year, a Scrutiny Committee from the European Union issued a report that established the stage for the decision regarding the domain.
It wrote: “By default, when the UK leaves the European Union, and any transition period ends, UK persons and organisations that have registered .EU domain names will no longer be legally eligible for these registrations.”
“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.”
But the idea of immediately removing the existing domains seems to have taken even the consortium which regulars the domain called the EURid by surprise. As The Register records, it also goes against the norms of the internet industry, which often allow the grandfathering of domains. As an example, the .SU domain that was intended for the Soviet Union still exists, even if the region itself had already disappeared in 1991.
However, the European Union has the right to do whatever it wants with the .EU domain. The original rules from 2006 plainly state that the domain is only available to people that have a residence in the European Union. And as the commission notes, the United Kingdom voted itself out of the bloc and will become a “third country” soon.
Recently, the European Union also informed the United Kingdom that it would be removed from the Galileo satellite program. The bloc could be making use of both issues to give more pressure in the Brexit talks, which is set to take place in March 2019. However, the European Union left the door slightly opened when it said that the .EU revocation is still “subject to any transitional arrangement that may be contained in a possible withdrawal agreement.”