Despite the Brexit uncertainty, some issues seems to be seeing light at the end of the tunnel. On 18 July 2019, the European Commission issued an updated notice to stakeholders concerning the <.eu> domain names registered by UK residents.
This notice refers to the notification submitted by the United Kingdom of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. It also refers to withdrawal date extension period, after United Kingdom will be considered as a third country, namely 1 November 2019.
The Commission reminds that the United Kingdom’s withdrawal has legal repercussions, which need to be considered. These are not just a matter for EU administrations but also for private parties. In this way, it appears necessary to consider the EU regulatory framework for the <.eu> Top Level Domain, and in particular 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, amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/517, as of 19 October 2019.
The EURid, the registry manager of the <.eu> country code top-level domains, highlights that at the time of the UK withdrawal, EU citizens residents in UK may still keep their <.eu> domain name(s) thanks to the changes of the <.eu> eligibility criteria.
The new eligible criteria according to Article 4(2) (b) of the before mentioned Regulation establishes that persons who met any of the following criteria are eligible to register <.eu> domain names:
- a Union citizen, independently of their place of residence;
- a natural person who is not a Union citizen and who is a resident of a Member State;
- an undertaking that is established in the Union; or
- an organisation that is established in the Union, without prejudice to the application of national law.
In the light of the new criteria set out, the place of residence criterion is no longer important, and therefore, allow to UK residents who are Union citizens to maintain their <.eu> domain names. However, organisations and undertakings established in the UK but not in the EU and third country nationals who resides in the UK will no longer be eligible to register <.eu> domain names.
In addition, seems that the Registry for <.eu> will be entitled to revoke domain names which do not met the eligibility criteria on its own initiative without being obliged to submit the dispute to any extrajudicial settlement of conflicts.
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