202002.03

The post-Brexit effects on domain names


The United Kingdom left the European Union at midnight January 31, 2020 (CET). The United Kingdom and the European Union have entered a period of transition. This period will last at least until December 31, 2020. During this period, residents and citizens of the United Kingdom can hold and register a .eu domain name (EURid.eu, 2020-01-30).


Legal framework

2002-04-22Regulation (EC) No 733/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 April 2002 on the implementation of the .eu Top Level Domain (Text with EEA relevance
2004-04-28Commission Regulation (EC) No 874/2004 of 28 April 2004 laying down public policy rules concerning the implementation and functions of the .eu Top Level Domain and the principles governing registration (Text with EEA relevance)
2017-05-12Commission launches a public consultation on the review of the rules on the .eu top-level domain
2018-03-27Notice to stakeholders. Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Rules on .EU Domain Names
2018-04-27The Commission proposes more flexibility in the .eu top-level-domain
2018-12-05The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission reached an agreement on the new rules for the .eu top level domain (TLD)
2018-12-21Guidance on .eu top level domain name registrations in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit
2019-01-24EURid updated its Brexit webpage
2019-03-19Regulation (EU) 2019/517 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2019 on the implementation and functioning of the .eu top-level domain name and amending and repealing Regulation (EC) No 733/2002 and repealing Commission Regulation (EC) No 874/2004


Eligibility

According to article 4(2)(b) of the Regulation (EC) No 733/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 April 2002 on the implementation of the .eu Top Level Domain (EUR-lex) as modified by Regulation (EU) 2019/517 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2019 on the implementation and functioning of the .eu top-level domain name and amending and repealing Regulation (EC) No 733/2002 and repealing Commission Regulation (EC) No 874/2004, the “registry shall register domain names in the .eu TLD through any accredited .eu Registrar requested by:

(i) a Union citizen, independently of their place of residence;

(ii) a natural person who is not a Union citizen and who is a resident of a Member State;

(iii) an undertaking that is established in the Union; or

(iv) an organisation that is established in the Union, without prejudice to the application of national law“.

Consequently, British natural and legal persons are no longer eligible for the .EU. The only exception is for natural persons who, although not European citizens, reside in one of the EU Member States.


The transition period

However, a transitional period was therefore put in place until December 31, 2020 to allow British natural and legal persons to adapt to their new situation.


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Consequences for other members’ ccTLDs

The withdrawal from the United Kingdom also has consequences for the ccTLDs of certain other Member States of the European Union which impose a condition of territoriality within the Union (Arthur Fouré, “IP Twins answers the 5 questions you may still ask on the impact of Brexit on domains”, iptwins.com, 2019-03-29).