.eu IDNs

europe

Background

In support of the European Union’s commitment to linguistic diversity, online as well as offline, EURid has consistently shown a deep commitment to supporting Internationalised Domain Names. EURid launched IDNs at the second level under .eu in 2009. The scripts supported are Latin, Greek and Cyrillic, reflecting the scripts of the current 24 official languages of the European Union.

In 2017, the number of IDNs operated by EURid, under both .eu and .ею was 41 000. This is a decline of 4 000 IDNs since December 2016, continuing the steady decline in IDNs under .eu since the high point of 67 000 in 2010.

Consistent with its commitment to enhance linguistic diversity in cyberspace, in 2011 EURid applied for the IDN ccTLDs .ευ and .ею through the ICANN IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process. The .ευ and .ею strings are equivalent of .eu in Greek and Cyrillic script to support registrants from Greece and Bulgaria within the European Union.

EURid has implemented a ‘single script’ policy, meaning that each IDN domain name in the EURid stable is in a single script. On the launch of the .ею IDN TLD, EURid put in place plans for the migration of Cyrillic script IDNs, cloning 1 430 existing Cyrillic script second level .eu IDNs under the new TLD. Plans for the retirement of second level Cyrillic script IDNs under .eu will be fully implemented by the end of May 2019, a three year migration window to minimise the disruption for existing users.

During 2015, EURid also launched support for the IDNA 2008 protocol and implemented homoglyph bundling, as part of its preparations for top level IDNs under .ею and in time, .ευ. Part of EURid’s committment to the single script policy is to enhance usability and legibility for customers and to minimise risks of potential confusion arising from similarities in certain characters between Cyrillic and Latin script. So-called homograph attacks exploit such similarities, although real-life instances of these attacks are minimal at the current time due to limitations in universal acceptance, particularly the use of email.

The application for the Greek script .ευ is having a difficult passage through the ICANN process, but the .ею was approved through the Fast Track process in 2012 and the ICANN Board passed a resolution on its delegation on 3 February 2016. It was then launched by EURid on 1 June 2016.

This remainder of this section reports on .eu IDNs in more detail as at December 2017.