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Competition and Regulation in the Postal and Delivery Sector

Competition and Regulation in the Postal and Delivery Sector

Advances in Regulatory Economics series

Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer

orldwide, postal and delivery economics has attracted considerable interest. Numerous questions have arisen, including the role of regulation, funding the Universal Service Obligation, postal reform in Europe, Asia and North America, the future of national postal operators, demand and pricing strategies, and the principles that should govern the introduction of competition. Collected here are responses to these questions in the form of 24 essays written by researchers, practitioners, and senior managers from throughout the world.

Chapter 19: Licensing Regimes in the Postal Sector: The Impact of the Recent EC Proposal for a Third Postal Directive

Joost Vantomme and Alessandra Fratini

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics


* Joost Vantomme and Alessandra Fratini 1. INTRODUCTION The purpose of this chapter is to review the European licensing regimes for the postal sector within an evolving legal framework. Licensing requirements and related regulations have always been regarded under competition law as constituting potential barriers to entry. Indeed, on the one hand, licensing requirements such as territorial restrictions, mandatory standards or legal requirements can be viewed as affecting the market’s normal functioning by unnecessarily deterring or delaying entry. However, on the other hand, these requirements can be considered as being necessary on public service grounds to ensure the affordability, reliability and efficiency of a service of general interest. The current Postal Directive1 authorizes Member States to set up authorization procedures, including individual licenses, provided that they do not go beyond what is necessary to ensure universal service provision. Its implementation has led to a wide range of licensing regimes at national level. The recent proposal for a third Postal Directive (‘the Proposed Directive’)2 suggests further harmonization of the divergences to reduce unjustified and burdensome barriers to the free movement of postal services (often referred to in EU jargon as ‘removing barriers to the internal market’). Section 2 will be devoted to summarizing the current licensing systems, as provided by EU law and implemented by Member States into their national legislation, combined with an overview of the changes that would be made to this system by the Proposed Directive. In Section 3, we will assess the existing...

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