While the .eu ccTLD’s handling of UK registrants post-Brexit has grabbed headlines, they aren’t the only domain name registry that is impacted. Many of the European country code domain names have or had policies that link registration requirements to membership of the EU. Bear in mind that one of the core tenets of the EU treaties is to allow ease of commerce across the entire area, so a ccTLD operator in a member state would raise eyebrows if they kept blocking registrations from other EU member states. Of course may ccTLD operators are not run by organs of the state and have their own set of policies and rules. Some are progressive, while others are, for lack of a better word, just plain weird.
AFNIC, which runs the .fr registry as well as several ccTLDs for France’s overseas territories, is one of the larger country codes in the EU.
The .fr registry has announced how it will handle .fr and other AFNIC managed domain extensions allocated to UK registrants. Why it took them until almost the end of January to make this announcement is unclear.
So basically they’re taking a quite pragmatic approach, which will cause the least harm:
- .fr domain names registered to UK based registrants before January 1st 2021 will continue to be registered and resolve ie. they will not be impacted
- UK based registrants cannot register .fr domain names from January 1st onwards
The rationale behind this is quite simple. The .fr naming policy requires registrants to have an address in the EU. Rather than change the policy they’ve decided to enforce the existing one.
This isn’t ideal of course, but thankfully the existing domain names won’t be impacted.
As the .fr registry is looking only at the registrant’s location and not their citizenship there’s no “out” for EU citizens in the UK.