The European Commission is consulting its 15 national member governments over a draft decision to pick a Belgian-led consortium to run the long-awaited .eu top-level domain name registry.

The appointed registrar was supposed to be announced last year but a lack of bidders has drawn out the process.

The frontrunner is the Brussels-based European Registry of Internet Domains consortium (Eurid), which has been set up by three domain name registration groups from Belgium, Italy and Sweden.

The final decision is due next month after the consultation process with the member states is over.

The draft decision, awards second place to a consortium called the EU Domain Registry and third place to one called Eureg, according to a leaked copy of the preliminary conclusion. The draft decision gave no details about these runners up.

Eurid plans to offer a so-called 'sunrise period' for registration by companies of domains connected to their trademarks and brands to avert cybersquatting problems. It plans to sell domains for €10 (around £6.50) each initially, with the intention that this will fall to €5 (roughly £3.50) after a year.