Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 15: Status of the postal service twenty years after the Green Paper: a Franco–European perspective
The Green Paper on the Development of the Single Market for Postal Services is now twenty years old. Published on 11 June 1992, it was the outcome of several years of work, consultation and coordination. It stated that ‘the absolute policy fundamental is the need to ensure the continuation of the universal service, and thus to ensure that the postal administrations’ public service mission is carried out in good economic and financial conditions’ (p. 5). The Green Paper put this principle into practice by advocating Europe-wide accessibility for all national and cross-border services that are affordable and of satisfactory quality. It provided several options for achieving these objectives, ranging from total opening up of the postal market to the status quo, giving preference to a middle-way scenario of gradual market liberalization. At over 350 pages, this report gave a detailed description of the situation on the postal market and of the economic, legal and social issues to be taken into account. It defined the basis for the joint regulatory rules to which postal services and markets in Europe were to be subject, with special rules covering universal service operators, while leaving member states extensive decision-making autonomy. It was welcomed by most stakeholders (governments, major customers, consumer and business associations, public and private postal operators), and the Commission subsequently received more than 200 contributions to the debate.
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