Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 17: The EU Postal Services and Public Procurement Law: Legal and Regulatory Issues for the Postal Sector
Alessandra Fratini and Fabio Filpo 1 INTRODUCTION Under European Union (EU) law, public sector procurement is subject to speciﬁc rules which seek to ensure that public sector bodies award contracts in an eﬃcient and nondiscriminatory manner. The regime covers contracts above certain thresholds awarded by central and local government and also by some utility sectors. The postal sector has traditionally been subject to public procurement rules, with public postal operators (PPOs) falling within the deﬁnition of ‘contracting entities’ covered by their scope of application.1 With the publication of the 2004 ‘Legislative Package on Public Procurement’, the EU completed a major overhaul of public procurement legislation. Existing procedures have been simpliﬁed and clariﬁed. In recognition of the progressive liberalization in postal services, procurement by PPOs has been moved from the public sector to the more ﬂexible regime, under which utilities operate. One of the key features of this regime is a new provision allowing utilities operating in areas directly exposed to competition to apply for exemption. The tests that need to be met and the process that needs to be followed are set out in Article 30 of the so-called Utilities Directive (see Section 2 below). As a result, a number of member states are applying to the Commission to have their universal postal service providers exempted from the application of public procurement rules with respect to some of their activities, with a view to reducing the associated costs and ultimately promoting their eﬃciency. In...
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