Nearly 900,000 Europeans rushed to register the new ".eu" Internet domain names on Friday as the European Union (EU) opened public registration for the new website addresses, the European Commission said.
Four months after public bodies were allowed to bid for .eu addresses, followed by businesses in February, private individuals can now set up websites using the 25-nation bloc's signature suffix.
"Today, Europe's competitive knowledge society becomes very visible to the world on the internet," said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. "Europe and its citizens can now project their own web identity, protected by EU rules," she said, adding that she expected thousands to rush to make ".eu a powerful domain name on equal footing with .com".
According to EURid, the non-profit organization to which the commission has entrusted the administration of Europe's top level domain, the race into .eu domain names is led by Britain with some 220,000 applications, followed by Germany with some 200,000 and the Netherlands with more than 120,000 applications.