EU liberalisation deadline looms
The deadline for European countries to comply with the European Commission’s Third Postal Directive, which requires the majority of them to open their postal markets to competition, is just six months away. As Philippe Bodson, president of the Free and Fair Post Initiative (FFPI), put it: “This year is therefore crucial in order to ensure the development of a free and fair postal market.”
Thus far, just five member states (Germany, the United Kingdom, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden) have liberalised their postal markets. And within the last three years, according to FFPI, only two countries have opened their markets.
On April 29-30, European policymakers and postal leaders gathered at the European Commission Second High Level Conference on Postal Services in Valencia, Spain, to assess the broader state of European postal markets. At the conference, postal leaders proclaimed that 90% of the European market will be “open to competition” at the beginning of 2011 – if all goes according to plan.
The FFPI reports that the debate over liberalisation is ongoing in such countries as Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, and Portugal, even though all are subject to the year-end deadline. After 2011 dawns, many European posts will retain their monopolies. Nine member states that joined the EU after 2004, as well as Greece and Luxembourg, have until December 31, 2012, to open their postal markets.