so let me get this straight...the 300+ million people of the European Union don't merit their own supra-national ccTLD/gTLD?Well no, seeing as you asked, they probably don't. There are ccTLDs, of which all countries in the EU should have one, and their are gTLDs, which are global. The 300+ million people of the EU are free to use one or more of those.
There are presently no supra-national TLDs, nor any good reason I've seen to create them. The suggestion by EU officials that this will somehow incease e-commerce is implausible at best. If the EU does merit its own supra-national TLD, then why doesn't Africa, or North America (which is bound together via NAFTA)? As .na (Namibia) and .nf (Norfolk Island) and .nt (Neutral Zone, no less) are already taken, perhaps the best (for marketing purposes, partly to speculators) yet unclaimed 2 letter code should be asked to be assigned. As for the claim that EU isn't on the ISO list, that has already been explained, it is on the ISO reserved list. Not that I agree with that reasoning, but that is the explanation.
I wouldn't care less about this issue normally, let the EU have one of about 250 TLDs and see how much good it does them. Other than an initial influx of cash from protective registrations and speculators and squatters, it would suffer from the general shrinkage of the namespace, and be beset by similar problems to those still plaguing ICANN's new gTLDs.
But there are those in the EU, and ICANN, who want more restrictive policies in place for .eu than either the current gTLDs or most ccTLDs. Once they get that foot in the door they will then be in a better position to ask that other gTLDs be equal, and to demand that the ccTLDs under their umbrella be equal. And that will only benefit the usual suspects. -g