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Tuesday, 26 March, 2002, 10:38 GMT
EU flies flag in cyberspace
EU flags can now fly  in cyberspace, BBC
The EU can now have a presence on the net
Soon a corner of cyberspace will have an unmistakably European identity.

The European Union has formally approved the creation of the dot.eu internet address that will shortly sit alongside national identifiers such as dot.uk and dot.fr.

Now, the EU is looking for a non-profit organisation to run the eu domain on its behalf.

Internet addresses bearing the new suffix should go on sale in early 2003.

New names

A gathering of European telecommunications ministers in Brussels gave the go-ahead to the name, following earlier approval by the European Parliament.

Erkki Liikanen, EU
Liikanen: "European identity in cyberspace"
"The introduction of a new dot.eu internet domain will create a truly European identity in cyberspace for EU internet users," said Erkki Liikanen, European commissioner for internet policy, in a statement.

The European Parliament gave its support to the dot.eu proposal in late February.

The EU is planning to start searching for a private sector organisation to run the domain for it. This organisation will collect fees and administer the database of who owns which address, fending off cybersquatters and resolving domain disputes.

Who wants dot.eu?

But so far it is unclear how popular the new net suffix will be.

The EU has admitted that it had done no research to find out how many people might snap one up, and has said that it expects it to be "relatively popular".

Mr Liikanen told reporters that the majority of e-mail messages he gets ask when the dot.eu domain is due to appear.

However, some national registries have questioned the need for a supra-national domain that sits between country codes, such as dot.de and dot.es, and generic suffixes such as dot.com and dot.biz.

See also:

15 Mar 02 | Sci/Tech
Net shake-up plan prompts protests
15 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
Net's servers under scrutiny
11 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
Me, my web and I
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