The European Commission has drawn up plans for administering the proposed .eu domain name - which it says it wants operational as soon as possible.
First suggested more than a year ago, the domain could, in line with other EU legislation currently in the pipeline, help to end legal disputes over international jurisdiction by creating an area on the internet where ecommerce operations are undisputedly run under EU law.
However, the domain faces tough competition from the existing .com domain, country level domains, such as .co.uk, and the host of new domain name alternatives expected within the next year.
Plans for the creation of the domain, mooted as the premier domain suffix for European businesses conducting ecommerce, have already been approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), the non-profit organisation that manages the web's domain name system.
Cracking down on cybersquatting and introducing a new arbitration process to resolve domain name disputes are just two of the Commission's plans for running the .eu domain name.
Today's statement said technical specifications for the registry and its practical implementation would continue to be discussed with private sector operations. It also called upon the European Parliament and European Council to fast track the registry proposals so that the registry can be set up "as early as possible".
The internet has become an "indispensable" tool for communication between member states, according to the Commission.
Erkki Liikanen, the Enterprise and Information Society commissioner, said: "Today's proposal brings Europe one step closer to making the .eu top-level domain a reality.
"While national extension codes will continue to exist, the .eu top-level domain will provide Europe's companies the additional possibility of identifying themselves as European or pan-European companies on the internet."
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