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New .eu Web address for Europe

New .eu Web address for Europe

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Union is to switch to a new .eu Web address in an effort to boost its profile.

The creation of the .eu Top Level Domain -- the last tag of an Internet address -- is aimed at giving a pan-European brand to e-mails and Web sites.

It is also hoped to relieve pressure for more Web address space as the Internet continues to grow.

The new .eu domain will be added to national identifiers such as for Britain, .fr for France and .de for Germany in Internet Web site addresses and can be used by companies operating throughout Europe.

"The introduction of a new .eu Internet domain will create a truly European indentity in cyberspace for EU Internet users," European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen, Europe's top official for Internet matters, said in a statement on Monday.

EU telecommunications ministers meeting in Brussels gave the final blessing to the new domain, which had already been endorsed by the European Parliament.

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The commission said it expected to become available for companies, organisations and individuals early next year.

The EU's executive said it will soon launch a public tender to select a private sector, non-profit organisation to operate a registry to administer and manage .eu addresses.

"We hope all procedures can be run so that .eu can be available early next year," Liikanen added.

The commission, which drafted the legislation for the creation of .eu, said it expected the new domain to be "relatively popular," even though it had not conducted a formal evaluation of how strong the demand would be.

"We don't have any target on how many businesses or NGOs (non-profit organisations) should use it," Liikanen was reported by Reuters as saying.

"But if when I look at my e-mails, the most frequently asked question is by far: when will we be able to get .eu?"


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