BETA


2016/2010(INI) Application of the Postal Services Directive

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead TRAN FERBER Markus (icon: PPE PPE) ANDERSON Lucy (icon: S&D S&D), PORĘBA Tomasz Piotr (icon: ECR ECR), TELIČKA Pavel (icon: ALDE ALDE), EVANS Jill (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE), AIUTO Daniela (icon: EFDD EFDD), ARNAUTU Marie-Christine (icon: ENF ENF)
Committee Opinion EMPL BACH Georges (icon: PPE PPE) Laura AGEA (icon: EFDD EFDD), Marian HARKIN (icon: ALDE ALDE), Jutta STEINRUCK (icon: S&D S&D)
Committee Opinion ITRE
Committee Opinion IMCO ANDERSON Lucy (icon: S&D S&D) Edward CZESAK (icon: ECR ECR), Robert Jarosław IWASZKIEWICZ (icon: EFDD EFDD), Dennis de JONG (icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL), Mylène TROSZCZYNSKI (icon: ENF ENF)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 54

Events

2016/12/21
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2016/09/15
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2016/09/15
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted by 514 votes to 103 with 37 abstentions a resolution on the application of the Postal Services Directive.

Prospects for growth and increased competition: although the number of letters has declined across the EU and between 2012 and 2013 and the average rate of decline across the EU 28 was 4.85%, Members recalled that the postal market is still an area of the economy with strong prospects for growth and increasing competition .

The implementation of the Postal Services Directive helped to open up domestic markets for competition in letter markets, but development has been slow and did not lead to the accomplishment of the internal market for postal services, the sector in Member States still being dominated by the universal service providers (USPs).

Universal service: enhancing the independence of national regulatory authorities: Members noted that the minimum standards associated with the universal service obligation (postal items up to 2 kg, postal packages up to 10-20 kg, registered and insured items, and other services of general economic interest such as newspapers and periodicals), regulated in the EU generally meet customers’ demands. However, certain detailed requirements, which are not subject to regulation at EU level, are rightly set by the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) entrusted with this task.

In this context, Parliament called on the Member States to support the role and independence of NRAs through high professional qualification criteria for staff , with fair and non-discriminatory access to in-service training guaranteed, fixed terms of office and legal protection against dismissal without cause.

Obligations of independence can only be fulfilled if NRAs’ regulatory functions are structurally and functionally separated from activities associated with ownership or control of a postal operator. Senior NRA officials should not be permitted to work for the public postal operator or other interested parties for at least six months after leaving the NRA, with a view to preventing conflicts of interest.

Access, quality of service and user needs : Parliament encouraged the promotion of consumer choice in order to define the delivery of letters within the range of the Universal Service Obligation. It stressed the importance of providing a high-quality universal service under affordable conditions, comprising at least five delivery and five collection days a week for every citizen. While the Directive allows some flexibility, this should not be exceeded by national regulations.

The resolution also called for the need to:

improve geographical coverage and accessibility to universal services for parcel deliveries, especially for citizens with disabilities and reduced mobility and those in remote areas; monitor the provision of postal services as a public service in order to ensure that public service compensation is implemented in a manner that is proportionate, transparent and fair; define affordability for an item of correspondence and that Member States may maintain or introduce free postal services for blind and partially sighted persons.

Member States were called upon to:

maintain territorial and social cohesion and the associated quality requirements: Member States should use State aid tools only in exceptional cases, in accordance with EU competition policy, and in a transparent, non-discriminatory and appropriate manner, and to ensure that customers continue to have access to postal services, by guaranteeing, where appropriate, a minimum number of services at the same access point; ensure that market opening continues to benefit all users, in particular consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises, by closely monitoring the market developments.

The Commission was called upon to:

improve the present definition of universal service in order to stipulate a minimum guaranteed level of service for consumers, to make the universal service obligation fit for evolving markets; however, given that each market has its own specific constraints, that operators should be allowed a measure of flexibility in organising the universal service; ensure a common level playing field among providers, both for traditional mail and the fast-expanding field of parcel delivery and between postal incumbents and new entrants.

The VAT exemption for postal services has to be applied in a way that minimises distortions of competition between former monopolies and market entrants.

The cross-border dimension and e-commerce : Parliament stressed the importance of affordable and reliable parcel delivery services in realising the Digital Single Market, recalling that opening this sector up to competition has boosted the development of value-added services, such as track-and-trace, pick-up/drop-off locations, flexible delivery time, suitable return procedures and access to easy recourse procedures.

The Commission was called upon to:

develop market oversight of parcel delivery where necessary, and encourage affordability of cross-border tariffs and identify unfair anticompetitive and monopolistic practices; improve transparency as regards public pricing conditions and service performance (delivery options, final delivery, reliability), especially when it comes to e-commerce; promote the strategy on e-commerce and cross-border parcel delivery.

Improving the quality of the service and the protection of consumers’ rights : in order to restore an adequate level of consumer confidence, Members called for: (i) greater transparency as regards prices, delivery options, modalities and quality/performance (speed, geographical coverage, delays and the handling of damaged or lost items); (ii) trust labels; (iii) simple, efficient cross border mechanisms for adequate consumer redress.

The resolution encouraged the establishment of open tools and service quality indicators so that consumers can compare offers from different service providers.

Social dimension: Parliament called on the Member States to guarantee all workers in the postal services sector decent working conditions , including the required level of health and safety protection at work.

Noting that the number of part-time workers, agency workers and self-employed people in the sector has increased and that the general trend is towards more flexible employment contracts, Members stressed the importance for checks on working and rest times to be stepped up as well as working times in the postal sector.

They were concerned about attempts to circumvent existing minimum wage regulations by increasing the workload to an extent that cannot be managed during paid working hours.

Documents
2016/09/15
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2016/09/14
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2016/08/03
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Details

The Committee on Transport and Tourism adopted the own-initiative report by Markus FERBER (EPP, DE) on the application of the Postal Services Directive.

Although the number of letters has declined across the EU and between 2012 and 2013 and the average rate of decline across the EU 28 was 4.85%, Members recalled that the postal market is still an area of the economy with strong prospects for growth and increasing competition .

The implementation of the Postal Services Directive helped to open up domestic markets for competition in letter markets, but development has been slow and did not lead to the accomplishment of the internal market for postal services, the sector in Member States still being dominated by the universal service providers (USPs).

Universal service: enhancing the independence of national regulatory authorities (NRAs) : the report called on the Member States to support the role and independence of NRAs through high professional qualification criteria for staff , with fair and non-discriminatory access to in-service training guaranteed, fixed terms of office and legal protection against dismissal without cause.

It stated that any expansion of the role of NRAs under new regulation in the parcels market should tackle ‘cherry picking’ in the deliveries sector and establish minimum standards for all operators to ensure fair and equal competition.

Members stressed that obligations of independence can only be fulfilled if NRAs’ regulatory functions are structurally and functionally separated from activities associated with ownership or control of a postal operator. Senior NRA officials should not be permitted to work for the public postal operator or other interested parties for at least six months after leaving the NRA, with a view to preventing conflicts of interest.

Access, quality of service and user needs : Members encouraged the promotion of consumer choice in order to define the delivery of letters within the range of the universal service obligation. It stressed the importance of providing a high-quality universal service under affordable conditions , comprising at least five delivery and five collection days a week for every citizen.

The report also called for the need to:

improve geographical coverage and accessibility to universal services for parcel deliveries, especially for citizens with disabilities and reduced mobility and those in remote areas; monitor the provision of postal services as a public service in order to ensure that public service compensation is implemented in a manner that is proportionate, transparent and fair; define affordability for an item of correspondence and that Member States may maintain or introduce free postal services for blind and partially sighted persons.

Member States are called upon to:

maintain territorial and social cohesion and the associated quality requirements: Member States should use State aid tools only in exceptional cases, in accordance with EU competition policy, and in a transparent, non-discriminatory and appropriate manner, and to ensure that customers continue to have access to postal services, by guaranteeing, where appropriate, a minimum number of services at the same access point; ensure that market opening continues to benefit all users, in particular consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises, by closely monitoring the market developments.

The Commission is called upon to:

improve the present definition of universal service in order to stipulate a minimum guaranteed level of service for consumers, to make the universal service obligation fit for evolving markets, to take into account market changes in different Member States and to foster economic growth and social cohesion; maintains, however, given that each market has its own specific constraints, that operators should be allowed a measure of flexibility in organising the universal service; ensure a common level playing field among providers, both for traditional mail and the fast-expanding field of parcel delivery and between postal incumbents and new entrants.

The cross-border dimension and e-commerce : the report stressed the importance of affordable and reliable parcel delivery services in realising the Digital Single Market, recalling that opening this sector up to competition has boosted the development of value-added services. It noted in this respect that all advantages offered by new technologies, including drones, should be considered, since they could ease delivery services, especially in low populated, isolated or remote areas.

The Commission is called upon to:

develop market oversight of parcel delivery where necessary, and encourage, without undermining the competence of the NRAs, affordability of cross-border tariffs and identify unfair anticompetitive and monopolistic practices; improve transparency as regards public pricing conditions and service performance (delivery options, final delivery, reliability), especially when it comes to e-commerce; promote the strategy on e-commerce and cross-border parcel delivery.

Improving the quality of the service and the protection of consumers’ rights : in order to restore an adequate level of consumer confidence, Members called for: (i) greater transparency as regards prices, delivery options, modalities and quality/performance (speed, geographical coverage, delays and the handling of damaged or lost items); (ii) trust labels; (iii) simple, efficient cross border mechanisms for adequate consumer redress.

Social dimension : the report called on the Member States to guarantee all workers in the postal services sector decent working conditions , including the required level of health and safety protection at work.

Noting that the number of part-time workers, agency workers and self-employed people in the sector has increased and that the general trend is towards more flexible employment contracts, Members stressed the importance for checks on working and rest times to be stepped up as well as working times in the postal sector.

They are concerned about attempts to circumvent existing minimum wage regulations by increasing the workload to an extent which cannot be managed during paid working hours.

Documents
2016/07/12
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2016/06/23
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2016/06/08
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2016/05/24
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2016/05/18
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2016/03/09
   EP - BACH Georges (PPE) appointed as rapporteur in EMPL
2016/01/21
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2015/12/07
   EP - FERBER Markus (PPE) appointed as rapporteur in TRAN
2015/12/07
   EP - ANDERSON Lucy (S&D) appointed as rapporteur in IMCO

Documents

Activities

Votes

A8-0254/2016 - Markus Ferber - Résolution

2016/09/15 Outcome: +: 514, -: 103, 0: 37
DE IT PL ES RO AT BE SE BG PT NL SK HU LT HR FI CZ SI LU LV EE MT FR IE CY EL DK GB
Total
91
68
43
45
28
18
19
16
15
19
20
13
17
9
9
9
19
7
6
6
6
6
64
10
5
18
10
57
icon: PPE PPE
184

Lithuania PPE

1

Finland PPE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg PPE

3

Latvia PPE

2

Estonia PPE

For (1)

1

Cyprus PPE

1

Denmark PPE

For (1)

1
icon: S&D S&D
171

Netherlands S&D

For (1)

1

Croatia S&D

For (1)

1

Czechia S&D

3

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

1

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Latvia S&D

1

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Malta S&D

3

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Cyprus S&D

2

Denmark S&D

2
icon: ALDE ALDE
60

Romania ALDE

3

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Bulgaria ALDE

3

Croatia ALDE

For (1)

1

Finland ALDE

2

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Latvia ALDE

1

Estonia ALDE

3

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Denmark ALDE

1

United Kingdom ALDE

1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
44

Austria Verts/ALE

3

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Hungary Verts/ALE

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Croatia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

4
icon: ECR ECR
66

Italy ECR

2

Romania ECR

For (1)

1

Bulgaria ECR

2

Netherlands ECR

2

Lithuania ECR

1

Croatia ECR

For (1)

1
2

Czechia ECR

2

Latvia ECR

For (1)

1

Greece ECR

Abstain (1)

1
icon: EFDD EFDD
36

Germany EFDD

Against (1)

1

Poland EFDD

1

Sweden EFDD

2

Czechia EFDD

Against (1)

1

France EFDD

1
icon: NI NI
10

Germany NI

Against (1)

2

Poland NI

Abstain (1)

1

Hungary NI

2

France NI

Against (1)

2

United Kingdom NI

Against (1)

1
icon: ENF ENF
33

Germany ENF

Against (1)

1

Poland ENF

Abstain (1)

1

Belgium ENF

Against (1)

1

Netherlands ENF

2

United Kingdom ENF

Against (1)

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
49

Italy GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

3

Portugal GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

3

Netherlands GUE/NGL

3

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1
4

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2

Denmark GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

Against (1)

1
AmendmentsDossier
389 2016/2010(INI)
2016/03/22 IMCO 53 amendments...
source: 580.471
2016/05/09 EMPL 88 amendments...
source: 582.258
2016/06/08 TRAN 235 amendments...
source: 584.130
2016/06/14 EMPL 13 amendments...
source: 584.226

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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TRAN
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IMCO
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committee
IMCO
date
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rapporteur
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docs/4/body
EC
events/2/docs/0/url
Old
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2016-0254&language=EN
New
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2016-0254_EN.html
events/5/docs/0/url
Old
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New
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activities
  • date: 2016-01-21T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: False committee: EMPL date: 2016-03-09T00:00:00 committee_full: Employment and Social Affairs rapporteur: group: EPP name: BACH Georges body: EP responsible: False committee: IMCO date: 2015-12-07T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: S&D name: ANDERSON Lucy body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Industry, Research and Energy committee: ITRE body: EP shadows: group: S&D name: ANDERSON Lucy group: ECR name: PORĘBA Tomasz Piotr group: ALDE name: TELIČKA Pavel group: Verts/ALE name: EVANS Jill group: EFD name: AIUTO Daniela group: ENF name: ARNAUTU Marie-Christine responsible: True committee: TRAN date: 2015-12-07T00:00:00 committee_full: Transport and Tourism rapporteur: group: EPP name: FERBER Markus
  • date: 2016-07-12T00:00:00 body: EP type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: False committee: EMPL date: 2016-03-09T00:00:00 committee_full: Employment and Social Affairs rapporteur: group: EPP name: BACH Georges body: EP responsible: False committee: IMCO date: 2015-12-07T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: S&D name: ANDERSON Lucy body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Industry, Research and Energy committee: ITRE body: EP shadows: group: S&D name: ANDERSON Lucy group: ECR name: PORĘBA Tomasz Piotr group: ALDE name: TELIČKA Pavel group: Verts/ALE name: EVANS Jill group: EFD name: AIUTO Daniela group: ENF name: ARNAUTU Marie-Christine responsible: True committee: TRAN date: 2015-12-07T00:00:00 committee_full: Transport and Tourism rapporteur: group: EPP name: FERBER Markus
  • date: 2016-08-03T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2016-0254&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A8-0254/2016 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date: 2016-09-14T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20160914&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament body: EP type: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2016-09-15T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2016-0357 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T8-0357/2016 body: EP type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
commission
  • body: EC dg: Mobility and Transport commissioner: BULC Violeta
committees/0
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EP
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TRAN
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rapporteur
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shadows
committees/0
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committees/2
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committees/3
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docs
  • date: 2016-05-18T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE582.264 title: PE582.264 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2016-05-24T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE576.837&secondRef=02 title: PE576.837 committee: IMCO type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2016-06-08T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE584.130 title: PE584.130 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
  • date: 2016-06-23T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE580.673&secondRef=02 title: PE580.673 committee: EMPL type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2016-12-21T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=27541&j=0&l=en title: SP(2016)876 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
events
  • date: 2016-01-21T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2016-07-12T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2016-08-03T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2016-0254&language=EN title: A8-0254/2016 summary: The Committee on Transport and Tourism adopted the own-initiative report by Markus FERBER (EPP, DE) on the application of the Postal Services Directive. Although the number of letters has declined across the EU and between 2012 and 2013 and the average rate of decline across the EU 28 was 4.85%, Members recalled that the postal market is still an area of the economy with strong prospects for growth and increasing competition . The implementation of the Postal Services Directive helped to open up domestic markets for competition in letter markets, but development has been slow and did not lead to the accomplishment of the internal market for postal services, the sector in Member States still being dominated by the universal service providers (USPs). Universal service: enhancing the independence of national regulatory authorities (NRAs) : the report called on the Member States to support the role and independence of NRAs through high professional qualification criteria for staff , with fair and non-discriminatory access to in-service training guaranteed, fixed terms of office and legal protection against dismissal without cause. It stated that any expansion of the role of NRAs under new regulation in the parcels market should tackle ‘cherry picking’ in the deliveries sector and establish minimum standards for all operators to ensure fair and equal competition. Members stressed that obligations of independence can only be fulfilled if NRAs’ regulatory functions are structurally and functionally separated from activities associated with ownership or control of a postal operator. Senior NRA officials should not be permitted to work for the public postal operator or other interested parties for at least six months after leaving the NRA, with a view to preventing conflicts of interest. Access, quality of service and user needs : Members encouraged the promotion of consumer choice in order to define the delivery of letters within the range of the universal service obligation. It stressed the importance of providing a high-quality universal service under affordable conditions , comprising at least five delivery and five collection days a week for every citizen. The report also called for the need to: improve geographical coverage and accessibility to universal services for parcel deliveries, especially for citizens with disabilities and reduced mobility and those in remote areas; monitor the provision of postal services as a public service in order to ensure that public service compensation is implemented in a manner that is proportionate, transparent and fair; define affordability for an item of correspondence and that Member States may maintain or introduce free postal services for blind and partially sighted persons. Member States are called upon to: maintain territorial and social cohesion and the associated quality requirements: Member States should use State aid tools only in exceptional cases, in accordance with EU competition policy, and in a transparent, non-discriminatory and appropriate manner, and to ensure that customers continue to have access to postal services, by guaranteeing, where appropriate, a minimum number of services at the same access point; ensure that market opening continues to benefit all users, in particular consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises, by closely monitoring the market developments. The Commission is called upon to: improve the present definition of universal service in order to stipulate a minimum guaranteed level of service for consumers, to make the universal service obligation fit for evolving markets, to take into account market changes in different Member States and to foster economic growth and social cohesion; maintains, however, given that each market has its own specific constraints, that operators should be allowed a measure of flexibility in organising the universal service; ensure a common level playing field among providers, both for traditional mail and the fast-expanding field of parcel delivery and between postal incumbents and new entrants. The cross-border dimension and e-commerce : the report stressed the importance of affordable and reliable parcel delivery services in realising the Digital Single Market, recalling that opening this sector up to competition has boosted the development of value-added services. It noted in this respect that all advantages offered by new technologies, including drones, should be considered, since they could ease delivery services, especially in low populated, isolated or remote areas. The Commission is called upon to: develop market oversight of parcel delivery where necessary, and encourage, without undermining the competence of the NRAs, affordability of cross-border tariffs and identify unfair anticompetitive and monopolistic practices; improve transparency as regards public pricing conditions and service performance (delivery options, final delivery, reliability), especially when it comes to e-commerce; promote the strategy on e-commerce and cross-border parcel delivery. Improving the quality of the service and the protection of consumers’ rights : in order to restore an adequate level of consumer confidence, Members called for: (i) greater transparency as regards prices, delivery options, modalities and quality/performance (speed, geographical coverage, delays and the handling of damaged or lost items); (ii) trust labels; (iii) simple, efficient cross border mechanisms for adequate consumer redress. Social dimension : the report called on the Member States to guarantee all workers in the postal services sector decent working conditions , including the required level of health and safety protection at work. Noting that the number of part-time workers, agency workers and self-employed people in the sector has increased and that the general trend is towards more flexible employment contracts, Members stressed the importance for checks on working and rest times to be stepped up as well as working times in the postal sector. They are concerned about attempts to circumvent existing minimum wage regulations by increasing the workload to an extent which cannot be managed during paid working hours.
  • date: 2016-09-14T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20160914&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2016-09-15T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=27541&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2016-09-15T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2016-0357 title: T8-0357/2016 summary: The European Parliament adopted by 514 votes to 103 with 37 abstentions a resolution on the application of the Postal Services Directive. Prospects for growth and increased competition: although the number of letters has declined across the EU and between 2012 and 2013 and the average rate of decline across the EU 28 was 4.85%, Members recalled that the postal market is still an area of the economy with strong prospects for growth and increasing competition . The implementation of the Postal Services Directive helped to open up domestic markets for competition in letter markets, but development has been slow and did not lead to the accomplishment of the internal market for postal services, the sector in Member States still being dominated by the universal service providers (USPs). Universal service: enhancing the independence of national regulatory authorities: Members noted that the minimum standards associated with the universal service obligation (postal items up to 2 kg, postal packages up to 10-20 kg, registered and insured items, and other services of general economic interest such as newspapers and periodicals), regulated in the EU generally meet customers’ demands. However, certain detailed requirements, which are not subject to regulation at EU level, are rightly set by the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) entrusted with this task. In this context, Parliament called on the Member States to support the role and independence of NRAs through high professional qualification criteria for staff , with fair and non-discriminatory access to in-service training guaranteed, fixed terms of office and legal protection against dismissal without cause. Obligations of independence can only be fulfilled if NRAs’ regulatory functions are structurally and functionally separated from activities associated with ownership or control of a postal operator. Senior NRA officials should not be permitted to work for the public postal operator or other interested parties for at least six months after leaving the NRA, with a view to preventing conflicts of interest. Access, quality of service and user needs : Parliament encouraged the promotion of consumer choice in order to define the delivery of letters within the range of the Universal Service Obligation. It stressed the importance of providing a high-quality universal service under affordable conditions, comprising at least five delivery and five collection days a week for every citizen. While the Directive allows some flexibility, this should not be exceeded by national regulations. The resolution also called for the need to: improve geographical coverage and accessibility to universal services for parcel deliveries, especially for citizens with disabilities and reduced mobility and those in remote areas; monitor the provision of postal services as a public service in order to ensure that public service compensation is implemented in a manner that is proportionate, transparent and fair; define affordability for an item of correspondence and that Member States may maintain or introduce free postal services for blind and partially sighted persons. Member States were called upon to: maintain territorial and social cohesion and the associated quality requirements: Member States should use State aid tools only in exceptional cases, in accordance with EU competition policy, and in a transparent, non-discriminatory and appropriate manner, and to ensure that customers continue to have access to postal services, by guaranteeing, where appropriate, a minimum number of services at the same access point; ensure that market opening continues to benefit all users, in particular consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises, by closely monitoring the market developments. The Commission was called upon to: improve the present definition of universal service in order to stipulate a minimum guaranteed level of service for consumers, to make the universal service obligation fit for evolving markets; however, given that each market has its own specific constraints, that operators should be allowed a measure of flexibility in organising the universal service; ensure a common level playing field among providers, both for traditional mail and the fast-expanding field of parcel delivery and between postal incumbents and new entrants. The VAT exemption for postal services has to be applied in a way that minimises distortions of competition between former monopolies and market entrants. The cross-border dimension and e-commerce : Parliament stressed the importance of affordable and reliable parcel delivery services in realising the Digital Single Market, recalling that opening this sector up to competition has boosted the development of value-added services, such as track-and-trace, pick-up/drop-off locations, flexible delivery time, suitable return procedures and access to easy recourse procedures. The Commission was called upon to: develop market oversight of parcel delivery where necessary, and encourage affordability of cross-border tariffs and identify unfair anticompetitive and monopolistic practices; improve transparency as regards public pricing conditions and service performance (delivery options, final delivery, reliability), especially when it comes to e-commerce; promote the strategy on e-commerce and cross-border parcel delivery. Improving the quality of the service and the protection of consumers’ rights : in order to restore an adequate level of consumer confidence, Members called for: (i) greater transparency as regards prices, delivery options, modalities and quality/performance (speed, geographical coverage, delays and the handling of damaged or lost items); (ii) trust labels; (iii) simple, efficient cross border mechanisms for adequate consumer redress. The resolution encouraged the establishment of open tools and service quality indicators so that consumers can compare offers from different service providers. Social dimension: Parliament called on the Member States to guarantee all workers in the postal services sector decent working conditions , including the required level of health and safety protection at work. Noting that the number of part-time workers, agency workers and self-employed people in the sector has increased and that the general trend is towards more flexible employment contracts, Members stressed the importance for checks on working and rest times to be stepped up as well as working times in the postal sector. They were concerned about attempts to circumvent existing minimum wage regulations by increasing the workload to an extent that cannot be managed during paid working hours.
  • date: 2016-09-15T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
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  • The Committee on Transport and Tourism adopted the own-initiative report by Markus FERBER (EPP, DE) on the application of the Postal Services Directive.

    Although the number of letters has declined across the EU and between 2012 and 2013 and the average rate of decline across the EU 28 was 4.85%, Members recalled that the postal market is still an area of the economy with strong prospects for growth and increasing competition.

    The implementation of the Postal Services Directive helped to open up domestic markets for competition in letter markets, but development has been slow and did not lead to the accomplishment of the internal market for postal services, the sector in Member States still being dominated by the universal service providers (USPs).

    Universal service: enhancing the independence of national regulatory authorities (NRAs): the report called on the Member States to support the role and independence of NRAs through high professional qualification criteria for staff, with fair and non-discriminatory access to in-service training guaranteed, fixed terms of office and legal protection against dismissal without cause.

    It stated that any expansion of the role of NRAs under new regulation in the parcels market should tackle ‘cherry picking’ in the deliveries sector and establish minimum standards for all operators to ensure fair and equal competition.

    Members stressed that obligations of independence can only be fulfilled if NRAs’ regulatory functions are structurally and functionally separated from activities associated with ownership or control of a postal operator. Senior NRA officials should not be permitted to work for the public postal operator or other interested parties for at least six months after leaving the NRA, with a view to preventing conflicts of interest.

    Access, quality of service and user needs: Members encouraged the promotion of consumer choice in order to define the delivery of letters within the range of the universal service obligation. It stressed the importance of providing a high-quality universal service under affordable conditions, comprising at least five delivery and five collection days a week for every citizen.

    The report also called for the need to:

    • improve geographical coverage and accessibility to universal services for parcel deliveries, especially for citizens with disabilities and reduced mobility and those in remote areas;
    • monitor the provision of postal services as a public service in order to ensure that public service compensation is implemented in a manner that is proportionate, transparent and fair;
    • define affordability for an item of correspondence and that Member States may maintain or introduce free postal services for blind and partially sighted persons.

    Member States are called upon to:

    • maintain territorial and social cohesion and the associated quality requirements: Member States should use State aid tools only in exceptional cases, in accordance with EU competition policy, and in a transparent, non-discriminatory and appropriate manner, and to ensure that customers continue to have access to postal services, by guaranteeing, where appropriate, a minimum number of services at the same access point;
    • ensure that market opening continues to benefit all users, in particular consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises, by closely monitoring the market developments.

    The Commission is called upon to:

    • improve the present definition of universal service in order to stipulate a minimum guaranteed level of service for consumers, to make the universal service obligation fit for evolving markets, to take into account market changes in different Member States and to foster economic growth and social cohesion; maintains, however, given that each market has its own specific constraints, that operators should be allowed a measure of flexibility in organising the universal service;
    • ensure a common level playing field among providers, both for traditional mail and the fast-expanding field of parcel delivery and between postal incumbents and new entrants.

    The cross-border dimension and e-commerce: the report stressed the importance of affordable and reliable parcel delivery services in realising the Digital Single Market, recalling that opening this sector up to competition has boosted the development of value-added services. It noted in this respect that all advantages offered by new technologies, including drones, should be considered, since they could ease delivery services, especially in low populated, isolated or remote areas.

    The Commission is called upon to:

    • develop market oversight of parcel delivery where necessary, and encourage, without undermining the competence of the NRAs, affordability of cross-border tariffs and identify unfair anticompetitive and monopolistic practices;
    • improve transparency as regards public pricing conditions and service performance (delivery options, final delivery, reliability), especially when it comes to e-commerce;
    • promote the strategy on e-commerce and cross-border parcel delivery.

    Improving the quality of the service and the protection of consumers’ rights: in order to restore an adequate level of consumer confidence, Members called for: (i) greater transparency as regards prices, delivery options, modalities and quality/performance (speed, geographical coverage, delays and the handling of damaged or lost items); (ii) trust labels; (iii) simple, efficient cross border mechanisms for adequate consumer redress.

    Social dimension: the report called on the Member States to guarantee all workers in the postal services sector decent working conditions, including the required level of health and safety protection at work.

    Noting that the number of part-time workers, agency workers and self-employed people in the sector has increased and that the general trend is towards more flexible employment contracts, Members stressed the importance for checks on working and rest times to be stepped up as well as working times in the postal sector.

    They are concerned about attempts to circumvent existing minimum wage regulations by increasing the workload to an extent which cannot be managed during paid working hours.

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