On 31 December 2020, the Transition Period (sometimes also referred to as the “Implementation Period”) under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement will come to an end. The end of the Transition Period will bring an end to the current status quo whereby Gibraltar, its citizens and its business, have enjoyed EU rights. Therefore, subject to the outcome of ongoing negotiations concerning the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU, the end of the Transition Period will bring about important changes which Gibraltar, as a whole, will need to be ready for.
Gibraltar’s departure from the European Union means that certain processes and procedures will inevitably become more difficult, cumbersome and bureaucratic. It is important that citizens and businesses are aware of this and that, where possible, they plan ahead. The Government can only prepare in areas that are within its control. Even then, there will be certain areas where mitigation is not possible because the new situation simply reflects what it means to be outside the European Union.
The purpose of this Notice is to explain what you need to do before the end of the Transition Period if you hold a .eu domain.
If there is no agreement with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU by 31 December 2020.
Check your eligibility.
From 1 January 2021, you will no longer be able to register or renew .eu domain names if:
- Your organisation, business or undertaking is established in Gibraltar but not in the EU/EEA.; or
- You live in Gibraltar and are a UK national or a non-EU/EEA citizen.
If these issues affect you or your business you would be advised to read the latest .eu domain names “Notice to Stakeholders” published by the European Commission.
You can only register or hold .eu domain names if you are:
- An EU/EEA citizen, independently of where you live;
- Not an EU/EEA citizen but resident in the EU/EEA;
- An organisation, business or undertaking established in the EU/EEA.
If you already have a .eu domain or are considering obtaining one, you should check the eligibility criteria set out in Article 4(2)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 733/2002, as amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/517, and seek legal advice if necessary.
You may still satisfy the eligibility criteria if you have your registered office, central administration, or principal place of business within the EU/EEA; are established within the EU/EEA; or are a natural person resident in the EU/EEA.
The European Commission and EURid (the registry manager of the .eu country code top-level domain names) have confirmed that EU citizens who are resident in UK will be able to retain their .eu addresses. This applies equally to EU citizens resident in Gibraltar. If you are an EU citizen living in Gibraltar and have registered a .eu domain name, discuss with your registrar whether you will need to provide proof of eligibility.
What will happen if you do not meet the eligibility criteria.
On 3 June 2020, EURid published guidance for UK registrants and the steps it will take around the end of the transition period. The guidance applies equally to Gibraltar registrants. The notice states that:
- Registrants should have received an email notification from EURid on 1 October 2020 informing that they will lose their eligibility to retain their .eu domain name as of 1 January 2021 unless they can demonstrate their compliance with the .eu regulatory framework by updating their registration data before 31 December 2020.
- EURid will then send a further email on 21 December 2020 notifying all registrants who did not demonstrate continued compliance with the eligibility criteria and their registrars of risk of forthcoming non-compliance with the .eu regulatory framework.
- The guidance then states that, as of 1 January 2021, any registrant who cannot meet the eligibility criteria will have their .eu domain names withdrawn. A withdrawn domain name no longer functions, as the domain name is removed from the zone file and can no longer support any active services (such as websites or email).
- The EURid guidance states that withdrawn domain names will not be available to any other entity for a further twelve months. On 1 January 2022, all the withdrawn domain names will be revoked and made available for registration by other entities.
If you no longer meet the eligibility criteria.
If you no longer meet the eligibility criteria you should consider:
- Discussing with your domain name registrar whether to transfer your internet presence to another top-level domain. Examples include .com, .gi, .net or .org. Your registrar will be able to offer advice on how to let your customers know that you are moving or have moved to another domain, such as a holding page to redirect web traffic towards a new domain, or advice on how to update your search engine optimisation.
- Seeking advice from your domain name registrar on whether the terms of your contractual agreement provide for any recourse in the event of withdrawal or revocation of a .eu registration.
- Developing a migration plan for services and functions that your .eu domain, website or associated email address is linked to or supports.
Registering a .eu domain name after the end of the transition period.
If you are a Gibraltar resident, company or organisation planning to acquire a .eu domain name, check whether you remain eligible from 1 January 2021.
If you have registered top-level domain names for EU Member States
Similar eligibility restrictions may apply to EU Member State country code top-level domains such as .fr or .it.
You should check with your registrar that you are still eligible to retain the use of that domain from 1 January 2021.
If there is an agreement with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU by 31 December 2020.
Negotiations with respect to the UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU are ongoing. However, it is unlikely that any agreement on the future relationship would make accommodation for the continued use of .eu domain names or continued eligibility for the registration of the same beyond 31 December 2020.
This Notice is meant for guidance only.
Further information can be sought from email@example.com.