The bloc’s rules state that the .eu domain suffix can only be granted to individuals or organizations based in the EU. The change means tens of thousands of domains owned by UK citizens and organizations have been taken offline.
Among these is the website of the campaign group Leave.EU – the domain being the same as the name of the group.
Leave.EU was set up in 2015, just under a year before Britons voted to leave the EU, by businessman Aaron Banks and current Reform UK leader Richard Tice.
Nigel Farage was one of the group’s main supporters, although he also lent his support to Leave’s “official” campaign, Vote Leave.
POLITICO’s Samuel Stolton said the removal of this domain name and thousands of others “marks the final step in an ongoing process since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on January 31, 2020”.
This follows Leave.EU’s reported unsuccessful attempt to retain the domain by moving its headquarters to Waterford, Ireland.
All UK-based .eu domain owners have been told that they must prove they are eligible for the suffix – either by living or being based in the bloc – to prevent their domains from being taken down.
Some social media users have wondered who – if anyone – might get to take over the domain name next.
Alan Garriock joked on Twitter: “Isn’t there an EU based Remain support group that could take over the estate?”
READ MORE: Boris on the brink as voters turn against the Tories
The deletion of the domain took place yesterday, Monday.
In total, around 48,000 domains were affected.
A spokesperson for EURid, quoted in POLITICO, said its staff had been working on updating thousands of domains for 12 months.
They said: “Over the past 12 months, our staff have worked tirelessly to support registrants of these domain names and follow up on numerous requests to restore a domain name to registered status as soon as the criteria of eligibility were met.”
They added that the 48,000 removed domains “will become available for general registration on a first-come, first-served basis.”[d] based”.
Searching for “leave.eu” in a web browser now indicates that the server cannot be found, i.e. if or until the domain is resold to someone else.
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