New .eu domain ‘as important as .com’

European Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding said on Thursday that she expected “several hundreds of thousands” of companies to apply to use the new .eu domain name.

Reding spoke at a press conference in Brussels to announce the start of the “sunrise” period on Dec. 7, during which trademark holders and public bodies can apply to register .eu names.

The Commissioner said the .eu domain name would become “as important for European businesses as .com addresses.” It would give European businesses the tools to protect themselves under European Union law and help make them more visible, while giving a unique European dimension to their image, she said.

However, Commission officials said companies whose brand image is strongly linked to a .com address, such as Inc., would find it difficult to switch to the new top-level domain.

Non-E.U. companies will be able to apply for .eu addresses if they have a registered office in the E.U.

The domain name will be available only in its English version, as opposed to the French spelling “.ue” for Union europ

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