Table of Contents

Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform

Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform

Advances in Regulatory Economics series

Edited by Michael A. Crew, Paul R. Kleindofer and James I. Campbell Jr

The postal and delivery sector has been the subject of considerable interest in recent years. This Handbook brings together a number of contributions directed at understanding developments in the field of postal reform. The authors review the experience and plans of individual countries to provide some perspective on the problems faced in the area and the varied approaches being taken to address it. They also review key elements of policy and strategy that are important in this debate.

Chapter 14: EU Law on Postal Services

Richard Eccles

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics


* Richard Eccles † INTRODUCTION The European Union has imposed specific legislation on the member states in the postal services sector since 1997, when the Postal Directive, Directive 97/67/EC on the internal market of Community postal services was adopted.1 This Directive was the first stage in requiring member states to ensure minimum standards of universal service and in bringing about a ‘gradual and controlled’ liberalization of the postal services sector. The 1997 Postal Directive was based on the premise that postal services should be reserved to the universal service provider only to the extent necessary to ensure the continued provision of the universal service. At the same time, Directive 97/67/EC required member states to ensure cost-reflective pricing of the universal service and imposed specific requirements on cost-accounting by postal operators so as to enable prevention of cross-subsidization between reserved and non-reserved services (or between the universal service area and other services). The step-by-step opening of European markets for postal services by means of controlled reductions of the reservable area was continued by Directive 2002/39/EC (‘the 2002 Directive’) and is being completed by the entry into force of Directive 2008/6/EC (the ‘2008 Directive’)2 on 27 February 2008. This requires the member states to achieve full liberalization of the postal sector by 31 December 2010, albeit that some member states are exceptionally granted a longer period, until 31 December 2012. At the time of writing, shortly after the entry into force of the 2008 Directive, it is necessary to assess...

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