The .eu is a third or fourth choice extension in Europe and the EU. It represents approximately 10% of each EU country's national ccTLD footprint. Some EU countries will also have an equivalent 50 to 120% .com footprint so in in real terms it only represents about 5% or so of an EU country's domain footprint. When it comes to usage and brand awareness it is s a disaster zone. It is effectively dead in the English speaking areas of Europe because of a regulatory framework designed by and implemented by morons. The only areas of growth are in the former Eastern Europe states where .eu has replaced .com as the alternative to the local ccTLD.
Over the past few days, I've been working on a web usage survey of Irish hosted domains. The breakdown of TLDs on Irish hosters as of 01/March/2010 is as follows: IE: 107930 (139118 total) COM: 114324 NET: 12850 ORG: 7310 BIZ: 2290 INFO: 2900 MOBI: 871 ASIA: 58 EU: 7863 (Identified) CO.UK: 11040 (Identified) DE: 132 (Identified) ES: 290 (Identified)
The main choice is the national ccTLD and .com. The most popular ccTLD after .IE is actually .UK. In terms of web use (Active/Holding page/PPC/Redirect etc), the .eu websites is very similar in usage to that of .biz websites - more websites are just holding pages and redirects than are actively used for websites.
As TLD for speculation, .eu is very much a long term hold. However the long term could be five to ten years. Despite its 3M registrations, the .eu is just not a player in national terms and it is behaving very much like a gTLD (specifically .biz in growth pattern). Eurid (the .eu registry) introduced a buy one get one free offer for registrars so the growth in .eu is really being artificially subsidised. I do not think that the .eu ccTLD will flourish until the current registry is replaced with a more effective and competent registry and the massive cyberwarehousing and cybersquatting problem is dealt with. There is no trust for the ccTLD in the EU. But I am probably even more cynical about .eu than Bob Parsons.