Single Market for postal service

The Third Postal Directive was published in the Official Journal on the 27th February 2008. The publication marks the entry into force of the directive and sets the clock ticking for abolishing legal monopolies on postal services by 31 December 2010. The Directive is the result of a broad political consensus on the way forward for the regulatory framework of European postal services. The Commission will monitor and assist Member States pro-actively in implementing the Directive. In particular, it will pay close attention to potential entry barriers that would deprive users of the benefit of a dynamic and open market.

Monitoring and assistance
The mission of EU postal reform continues. Next steps will require close monitoring of the development of competition notably by national regulatory authorities whose role has now been strengthened further. Particular attention will be paid to quality and prices of universal postal service. The Commission services will assist Member States in the transposition of the Directive to ensure that postal reform remains true to its objective of high quality and innovative postal services.
Commissioner McCreevy expressed his concerns on protectionist tendencies that are contrary to the spirit of EU postal reform on which the EU has engaged for over 15 years. These include restrictive licensing requirements for new operators, abnormally high setting of minimum wages which create a disproportionate barrier to entry, predatory pricing, discriminatory access to the postal infrastructure, operational standards that limit interoperability between operators, etc.

Concrete benefits for citizens and businesses
The text published on the 27th February 2008 reflects the overall political agreement between the institutions and keeps the key elements of the Commission's initial proposal and in particular:

  • the accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services via the abolition of the reserved area in all Member States.
  • the confirmation of the scope and standard of universal service; reinforcement of consumers' rights and upgrading of the role of national regulatory authorities.
  • the offering of a list of measures Member States may take to safeguard and finance, if necessary, the universal service.

With the removal of reserved areas, users of postal services can expect the services available to them to develop and further improve. In this open environment, universal service providers will be motivated to become more reliable and efficient and to further increase their customer focus in the light of potential competition from new market entrants. In line with the goals of the Lisbon agenda, full market opening will also directly foster the creation of new jobs in new postal companies, and, indirectly, in the industries dependent on the postal sector.