Last week, we could read that 300 000 .eu web domains were created in 2007, two years after the domain was created. According to the European Commission, .eu is the fourth most popular Top Level Domain (TLD) in Europe (after .de and .uk) and the ninth most popular TLD worldwide (after .com, .net, and .org, among others). Germany, the Netherlands, UK and France have registered most .eu domains.
I asked Martin Selmayr, the spokesperson at the DG Information Society and Media, if any Norwegian companies, organizations or private persons had registered .eu domain – and big “surprise” – the answer was 0. For the logic reason that “.eu is reserved to citizens and businesses established in one of the 27 EU Member States. So far, there is no agreement concluded to allow also third countries (such as those in the European Economic Area, like Norway) to participate.”
This is not a big issue, just another example of life outside EU (but still inside, with a small toe in the door). In Norway, there is an expression for Norway’s particular position towards EU. In Norwegian, it is called “annerledeslandet“, directly translated (I haven’t seen this translated in English before), it goes something like this: “land of otherness”. The idea behind the expression was to show that Norway could walk it’s own walk, instead of following in EU’s footsteps. Well, I could go on about the Norwegian otherness and all its mischievous consequences, but I will leave that for now.
However, I was thinking about it when I was reading the Norwegian EU delegation’s report about EU and the information society (in Norwegian), which I mentioned here. It is actually a good report, and definitely something to check out for those interested in the broader lines of EU’s ICT policy and plans in the near future. EU and DG Information Society have so much going on in this area (think about in-flight mobile phones, intelligent cars, open sources, roaming, etc.), you better keep up with the info flow not to loose track of commissioner Viviane Reding’s ambitious plans. I especially liked the chapter about RFID technology (also called Internet of Things), which I’m very curious about.
My point about mentioning this report, is that it also gives indications of which IT projects Norway is participating in, and again, I get the clear impression of the “otherness” again. Norway has to relate to most of the EU rules on the IT area, but we are only participating in some few policy making processes (among them eHealth, eID, eInclusion). That feels strange, when new technology and Web 2.0 is all about participation.