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Over 80,000 internet domain names assigned to UK registrants were suspended by the bloc’s EURid registry after the end of the Brexit transition period. But Leave.EU – the campaign fronted by Brexit Party leader Mr Farage and bankrolled by Arron Banks – has managed to keep hold of its registration. In a move to keep hold of the domain name, the campaign group’s current chiefs decided to swap its registration address to the Republic of Ireland, according to the Euractiv website.
This means the pro-Brexit lobby no longer have to drop their renowned online presence after EU rules made blocked UK ownership of the .EU domain.
The registry has now been flooded with similar requests a website owners hope to reinstate their own online presence.
EU domains registered in the UK will remain suspended until March 31, 2021.
During this period, owners will be able to update their details to reregister their websites in an EU member state.
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But the bloc will require registrants to provide evidence of citizenship in one of the 27 remaining states.
After April, those who haven’t demonstrated their eligibility will see their .EU domain names withdrawn.
And from January 2022, if no action is taken the domains will be made available again for general registration.
An EURid statement said: “After the end of the transition period: United Kingdom undertakings or organisations established in the United Kingdom but not in the Union, United Kingdom citizens who are not resident of a Union Member State, and United Kingdom residents who are not Union citizens will no longer be eligible to hold a .EU domain name.”
Polish MEP Radoslaw Sikorski, a former foreign minister in his country, claimed the changes would impact British supporters of the EU.
“Pity; those were probably mostly owned by pro-EU Brits,” he said, reacting to the news Leave.EU will keep its domain name.
Cabinet Office Michael Gove said the New Year would bring “bumpy moments” for businesses and travellers as the UK leaves the EU’s single market and customs union.
But much of the chaos forecast by anti-Brexit campaigners, such as long queues for lorries at the borders, have been avoided.
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One expert has predicted more friction to emerge between the UK and EU as they settle into the new future relationship deal.
Professor Catherine Bernard, of Cambridge University, said review clauses in the trade and security treaty means it could be ripped up in as little as five years.
She told the EU Future Relationship committee: “I always thought one of the arguments of having a deal was it would make the relationship more cordial between the EU and the UK.
“I always thought no deal would be very bad not just economically but also politically due to the hostility that would be expressed on both sides.
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“The optimist in me says this is the foundation for something which is potentially more harmonious.
“However, the nagging voice in the back of my head says actually, the EU has very much got what it wanted out of this deal and concessions will have to be made by the UK if it wants more.
“It is not clear whether there is space for the UK to make those concessions, certainly with the present administration.
“It may well be that if the politics are that actually complaining about the EU and saying the EU is not a good thing means we end up having a shadow debate up until five years time, when the agreement is reviewed, we may well find ourselves back looking at a no deal scenario.”
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