Luxembourg lawmakers approve postal liberalisation bill

Lawmakers in Luxembourg have voted unanimously in favour of opening up the country’s postal market to full competition, complying with EU postal laws. The bill passed by the Chambre des Députés yesterday cleared the way for competitive mail companies to deliver letters under 50g in weight within Luxembourg.

The new legislation will see national postal operator P&T appointed to run the universal postal service for a period of seven years.

As universal service provider, P&T will be expected to continue providing a five-day delivery service each week. The possibility of Saturday deliveries was also discussed by lawmakers, but it was decided such an option would prove too expensive at an extra EUR 9m a year.

Luxembourg is one of 11 remaining European Union Member States that are required under the EU Postal Directive to open their postal markets to full competition from the beginning of 2013.

Norbert Haupert, the rapporteur of the postal reform bill approved yesterday, said his country had not been in favour of liberalising its postal market when Europe adopted the Directive in 2008.

But, he said Luxembourg would “deal with it”.

“The Post – that is, P&T – must adapt and undergo modernisation,” he said. “Post offices, which represent a significant cost, will be upgraded to improve access to customers.”

Funding

Luxembourg’s universal service system will be supported by a central fund, managed by the Luxembourg Institute of Regulation (ILR), into which competitors operating in the postal market will pay money to support the nationwide delivery network in the event that it makes a loss.

The ILR, the regulator of the postal sector in Luxembourg, will also oversee the licensing of postal operators who will be required to contribute to the universal postal fund as a condition of gaining an operators’ licence.

Postal operators providing services outside of the area of the universal service would only have to notify the regulator and contribute towards the ILR’s costs in monitoring the postal market.

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