Today, the Commission published a notice in the Official Journal inviting third parties to submit their comments on the so-called Agreement for the Remuneration of Mandatory Deliveries of Cross-Border Mails (REIMS II). REIMS II is an agreement on the remuneration that public postal operators (PPOs)° pay each other for the delivery of incoming cross-border mail. This remuneration is also referred to as "terminal dues". Seventeen PPOs from the European Union and the EEA are parties to the REIMS II agreement. After receiving the comments of interested third parties to be submitted one month after publication of the OJ the Commission will take a final decision on whether the system of terminal dues can be exempted from the antitrust rules. The Commission will also decide on the length of the exemption to be granted.
The previous REIMS II agreement has led to improvements in the quality of cross-border mail between the REIMS II countries and brought better service to consumers. The Commission therefore intends to exempt the follow-up agreement from the antitrust rules for another limited period of time. Nevertheless, the Commission is also intent on fostering competition in the newly opened market for outgoing cross-border mail. Therefore, the Commission's decision exempting the agreement from the antitrust rules will require the REIMS II parties to deliver mail for third party operators according to the same terminal dues they charge between themselves.
The Commission's re-examination of the REIMS II agreement became necessary as the initial decision exempting the REIMS II Agreement from the antitrust rules expired at the end of 2001(1). Upon the expiry of the 1999 exemption, the Commission has re-examined the effects of the Agreement, and has found that it has indeed led to improvements in cross border mail deliveries. For example, the percentage of inbound cross-border mail delivered within one day from entering the country of destination has improved, on average, 6 percentage points between 1998 and 2000. In Italy the improvement amounts to 50 percentage points and in Norway to 13 percent points. There are indications that the positive trend has continued also after 2000. A better quality of service for cross-border mail benefits consumers.
To make the REIMS II agreement comply with EU and EEA competition rules, the Commission intends to require the following changes:
First, the Commission has obliged the parties to lower the levels of the terminal dues;
Secondly, as the recently amended Postal Directive has as of 1 January 2003 opened up outgoing cross-border mail to competition in EU Member States, the Commission intends to oblige the parties to apply REIMS II terminal dues in a non-discriminatory way to third party postal operators; and
Thirdly, the Commission will oblige the parties to agree on a feasible low cost alternative to terminal dues for commercial bulk mail.
The REIMS II Agreement concerns the remuneration that the parties pay each other for the delivery of cross-border mail, i.e. mail sent from one country to another. Seventeen public postal operators ("PPOs"), including the incumbent postal operators of all European Union (EU) Member States other than the Netherlands', and the PPOs of Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, have currently signed the REIMS II Agreement.(2)
The main aims of the REIMS II Agreement are (1) to provide the parties with compensation for the delivery of cross-border mail, and (2) to improve the quality of the cross-border mail service. The Agreement links terminal dues to domestic mail tariffs in the country of destination. The Agreement applies a system of quality-of-service standards and a penalty system – applied only when the agreed standards are not met.
The summary of the agreement as well as the requirements the Commission finds necessary in order to grant exemption from the antitrust rules are published in the Official Journal of the European Communities, No C 94 of 23 April 2003. The publication is available on the following web-site:
(1) OJ L 275 0f 26 October 1999, p. 17.
(2) The signatory parties are Austrian Post, La Poste/De Post (Belgium), Post Danmark, Finland Post, La Poste (France), Deutsche Post, Hellenic Posts ELTA, Iceland Post, An Post (Ireland), Poste Italiane, Entreprise des Postes & Télécommunications (Luxembourg), Norway Post, CTT Correios de Portugal, Correos y Telégrafos (Spain), Sweden Post, Swiss Post and Royal Mail (United Kingdom).
Source: European Commission
Tags: An Post, Austria Post, Belg, CTT Correios de Portugal, De Post, Deutsche Post, Elta, Europe, Finland Post, Hellenic Post, Iceland Post, La Poste, La Poste Belgium, Norway Post, P & T Luxembourg, Post Denmark, Poste Italiane, Royal Mail, Sweden Post, Swiss Post