The European Commission has published a list of eligible candidates for the right to operate the .EU ccTLD. The .EU registry contract is awarded in a competition every few years. The latest request for proposals was published in October 2020. The announcement of the list of candidates had to be postponed due to a technical error: the initial documents stated that organizations from the EU as well as the UK could apply for the contract. It was obviously impossible for the UK to do so because the country had officially announced its withdrawal from the European Union by that time.
The list contains four eligible applicants. The first is of course the EURid consortium, which has been running .EU for over 15 years. The next finalist is the Estonian Internet Foundation, which is the registry for the Estonian national domain. The other two organizations, the Open Registry (TORA) and the European Network Information Center (EU NIC), were apparently registered in Luxembourg in December 2020, obviously with the sole purpose of trying their luck in the competition for .EU, one of the largest national domains in the world, used by all official EU organizations.
According to Domain Incite, the EURid consortium looks like the undisputed leader of the tender after having won all the previous tenders, and there is no reason to believe that anything will go differently this time around. The European Commission will name the new .EU domain registry 80 days after the publication of the list of applicants.