28th Oct 2016

MEPs vote to end EU postal monopolies in 2011

  • The end of national monopolies on postal services? (Photo: EUobserver)

European lawmakers have voted in favour of liberalising EU postal services across the 27 member bloc in four years time, a move that could eventually mean the end national monopolies on delivering lightweight letters and postcards.

MEPs meeting in the European Parliament's transport committee in Strasbourg on Monday night (18 June) have with an overwhelming majority (38 MEPs in favour and 6 against) voted to fully open up the postal market by 2011.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The European Commission originally proposed to have the full liberalisation in place by 2009 at the latest, but the two year postponement was a compromise among MEPs to make sure that postal operators adapt to the new market conditions.

"My feeling is that we have taken the interest of all member states on board," said German centre-right MEP Markus Ferber, who is behind the parliament report.

The liberalisation of the EU's €90 billion a year postal service sector is a controversial topic with around ten member states, including France, Italy and Poland, opposing the move saying it could mean severe job costs.

Under the committee's plan, adopted by MEPs from across the political spectrum, the final date for full liberalisation is 31 December 2010; New member states and those with specific topography, such as Greece with its islands, could have until the end of 2012.

Member states would be given until 1 January 2010 to notify the European Commission about how they would fund nationwide universal services – meaning full territorial coverage at an affordable cost.

EU states that have already fully liberalised their sector, such as Sweden and the UK, could in the meantime refuse to authorise competitors from EU states that do not plan to open their own mail sectors until 2011 or later.

On the other hand, the directive will not affect terms and conditions of employment, nor will it affect relations between social partners, including the right to strike and to take industrial action in order to safeguard employment.

The EU started out on the road to opening up the postal sector 15 years ago and the current proposal would finalise the process, meaning that national postal operators would lose their monopoly over the distribution of any type of mail, including letters weighing less than 50 grammes. Heavier mail is already liberalised.

The full parliament is expected to adopt the proposal with minor changes when they meet to vote on the subject in July. If adopted, EU capitals must also agree on the move and it could go to a further reading in the parliament.

Belgium breaks Ceta deadlock

[Updated] Belgian leaders signed a joint declaration, clearing the way for the government to sign the EU-Canada trade pact. Wallonia's leader Paul Magnette said it was a victory for his people, and the rest of Europe.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersUN global sustainable development goals, integration, and security on agenda for Nordic Council Session 2016
  2. Taipei EU OfficeTaiwan Seeks to Join Fight against Global Warming
  3. ANCI LazioAnci Lazio Definetely has a lot to Celebrate This Year
  4. EU-China ForumDebating the Future of the EU-China Relations on 28 November in Prague
  5. COMECEMigrants: From Fear to Compassion
  6. Birdlife EuropeBusiness as Usual - Juncker Snubs Environment and Protects Broken CAP
  7. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  8. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  10. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  11. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  12. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament

Latest News

  1. Calais children abandoned at former camp site
  2. Greece to probe UN allegations of illegal returns
  3. Poland defies EU on rule of law
  4. Belgium breaks Ceta deadlock
  5. Left MEPs thwarting Dieselgate probe, say right MEPs
  6. Cars should be allowed to exceed emissions limits, say experts
  7. EU case against Google is bad for developers
  8. Privacy activists mount court challenge to EU-US data pact