.EU Coming with Cyrillic and Greek Characters

Eurid logoIn a move to allow domain names to be registered and accessible to as many people in the European Union as possible, the European Commission has announced speakers of Bulgarian and Greek will soon be able to have .eu websites in their own languages.

This means it will be possible for internet users and businesses to register domain names under .EU using the characters of all the 23 official languages of the European Union, now including Cyrillic and Greek scripts.

Now, it is only possible to register domain names in ASCII characters for all Top Level Domains. Making domain names available to internet users in their own language, called internationalised domain names, is being pushed by ICANN in a separate project. The end result of this will see domain names being made available in scripts from all languages throughout the world, most likely within the next one to two years.

Later this year .EU will also be available in the alphabets used by Bulgarians, Greeks and Cypriots and special characters used in other languages. Until now, Czechs could only use 27 of 42 characters, and Lithuanians 23 of 32. A new report of the Commission on the development of Europe’s top level domain, published today, shows that the number of .EU domain names registered (currently at around 3 million) grew by 11 per cent in both 2007 and 2008.

“Three years after its launch, .EU has become the valued option for an increasing number of businesses and citizens who want to choose a European internet identity. Opting for .EU is a very simple way for businesses to show that they are established in one of the 27 EU countries and subject to the high standards of EU legislation, particularly when it comes to data protection, consumer rules or the EU’s financial market regulations,” said Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

“It is only natural then that the domain names chosen by Europeans be permitted to be as diverse as Europe itself. This is why we have decided that .eu should become available in all alphabets used in the Member States and allow for all characters used in the 23 official languages of the European Union.”

Until now, domain names registered under the .eu top level domain could only contain the characters “a” to “z”, digits “0” to “9” and “-“. In future, it will be possible to register names using characters such as “à“, “ą”, “ä”, “ψ” or “д” under “.eu”. EU citizens and businesses will be able to register domain names in non-Latin scripts, which is essential for languages such as Greek and Bulgarian. At present, Bulgaria has one of the lowest number of registered .eu domains with 9, 578 registered.

Europe Registry logoTo register your .EU domain name, check out Europe Registry here.