Europe's top-level internet domain, .eu, turns one year old this week and has already become the continent's number-three regional domain name.

The domain, which is offered to individuals, organisations and companies within the European Union, has attracted more than 2.5 million registrations, said Martin Selmayr, a spokesman for the European Commission in Brussels, during a news conference the same day.

Demand for .eu domains has been strongest from Germany, where 31 percent of registrants are based, followed by the UK (17 percent) and the Netherlands (12 percent).

"As you see, .eu interest has nothing to do with interest and positive attitude to the European Union," said Selmayr, alluding perhaps to the UK's traditionally sceptical attitude to European politics.

France and Italy follow tied at fourth place at 5 percent.

Applications for the domain were accepted from trademark holders and public bodies beginning in December 2005 during a ‘sunrise period’, and then from others, including the general public, from April 2006. The domain is maintained by the non-profit organisation Eurid vzw in Belgium.

The 2.5 million domain names, most of which are in use according to the Commission, makes .eu the number three European top-level domain after the UK's .uk and Germany's .de.

"At the worldwide level we are close to .info and already half of .org," said Selmayr.