Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 4: Accessibility of the Postal Retail Network, Social Cohesion and Economic Development
* François Boldron, Karen Dewulf, Denis Joram, Clémence Panet, Bernard Roy and Olivier Vialaneix En tout lieu, ce qui est proche a plus d’inﬂuence que ce qui est éloigné. P.P. Combes, T. Mayer and J.F. Thisse (2006) 1. INTRODUCTION Social and territorial cohesion are strategic goals of the European Union (EU). Indeed, those objectives have been inscribed in the original Treaty of Rome of 1957 (in Articles 130 and 131 in particular). Following the treaty, the European Regional Development Fund was created in 1975. The main objective of this fund is to give ﬁnancial aid to lessdeveloped regions of Europe or to revitalise regions aﬀected by serious industrial decline. More recently, in the Lisbon Strategy, the EU has promoted an ambitious objective: ‘to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion’. Social and territorial cohesion is a pillar of the European Union policies. The accessibility of the postal retail network is a component of universal service provision. This provision takes the shape of a general guideline: ‘. . . Member States shall take steps to insure that the density of the points of contact (. . .) takes account of the needs of users’. The contribution of universal service to social and economic cohesion has always been present in the Postal Directives, and has been recalled in the Directive project launched by the Commission in October 2006. However, quite surprisingly, the inﬂuence of postal presence...
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