The .eu top-level Internet domain has become Europe’s third most popular domain name after just a year of operation.

The domain, which is offered to individuals, organisations and companies in the EU, has attracted more than 2.5m registrations, a spokesperson for the European Commission said.

The 2.5m domain names, most of which are in use, makes .eu the third most popular top-level domain in Europe after the UK's .uk and Germany's .de.

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

Demand for .eu domain names has been strongest in Germany, where 31 percent of registrants are based, followed by the UK, with 17 percent and the Netherlands, on 12 percent.

"As you see, .eu interest has nothing to do with interest and positive attitude to the European Union," said the European Commission spokesperson, in a possible allusion to the UK's traditionally sceptical attitude to European politics.

Applications for the domain have been accepted from trademark holders and public bodies since December 2005, and from other businesses and the public since April last year. The domain is maintained by the not-for-profit organisation EURid.