Postal services and parcel delivery: reports highlight success of European Single Market rules and challenges brought by digitisation

On November 8, 2021, the EU Commission has published two reports assessing the situation and developments in the European Single Market for postal and cross-border delivery under its current legal framework, namely the 1997 EU Postal Services Directive and the 2018 EU Cross-Border Parcel Delivery Regulation.

The reports show how these two pieces of legislation have successfully accompanied the modernisation and opening of the European postal services and have ensured that all EU citizens have access to essential letter and parcel services and led to more transparency as regards tariffs of cross-border delivery services for single piece parcels. But they also highlight how digitalisation has changed the Single Market for postal and parcels sector, creating new opportunities and challenges for postal operators and have changed consumers’ needs and expectations.

The Postal Services Directive established a common regulatory framework for European postal services with minimum requirements for a more harmonised universal service obligation, while allowing some flexibilities at national level.

Today’s report shows that the Directive has helped to ensure an affordable universal service in the EU. However, the report also shows that many Member States had to reduce the features and scope of their universal service obligation, mostly as a result of increasing costs of such services, coupled with changing needs of postal service users and operators. In addition, the report on the application of the 2018 Cross-Border Parcel delivery Regulation shows that it has led to more transparency on tariffs, especially thanks to the reporting obligations for operators and the Commission’s web transparency tool for parcel tariffs. As regards regulatory oversight, the report shows that there is still no convergence in how national authorities analyse tariffs, highlighting only sporadic follow-up actions against unreasonably high tariffs by national authorities. The reports are available here

www.ec.europa.eu