2012-007 B Cost Of Post Offices and EU Postal Legislation

The Royal Mail was the best service the the world. A single cost for anywhere in the UK, 2 deliveries a day and at low cost.  The EU ordered it to be broken up and sold to private companies. The European postal services were given 7 years derogation before they had to comply. This enable them to buy up the lucrative parts of our postal service leaving the Royal mail with the lossmaking parts. This was done with the complicity of our government,

EU postal reforms spark heated debate and

problems

Based on piece by Lucia Kubosova of EUOBSERVER

 

The European Commission is set to propose a full liberalisation of postal services by 2009, which will force member states to stop protecting public operators from national or cross-border competition. Brussels expects the move may spark “quite a polarised political debate” across Europe, according to one official, as a number of jobs in the public sector are at stake in several countries.

Privatisation initiated in 1997

The EU triggered this reform in 1997, introduced some modifications in  2002 while the so-called “third postal services directive” – likely to get a go-ahead by the Commission in early November – will prompt the full opening-up of  the sector.

According to a draft proposal seen by EUobserver, the EU executive will suggest a scrapping of the concept of “reservable areas” to which member states can currently restrict access to certain operators. But it will stick to the existing rule of “universal service obligation” where services must be provided to citizens – like delivery of letters and parcels within a certain time.

   More expensive letters

The commission believes that the postal reform may boost new technologies of delivery used by European consumers, such as sending an email to be delivered by mail. It may also lead to a different infrastructure – with post offices getting replaced by less costly franchised postal agencies or other service points in shops or petrol stations, already suggested by some German companies.

Still, it will be up to member states and national regulators to ensure that the postal services are well accessible across their territories through post offices, letter boxes or other points. While the prices in business correspondence are likely to fall – with more competition foreseen in this commercially lucrative area – prices of individual letters may shoot by up to 50 percent. This would mean the second class letter rate would be 35p and first class 48p.

Different pace of reforms

EU Member States already differ greatly on the extent to which they have carried out postal services reform and so will also differ strongly  in their views on the blueprint. While the UK, Sweden and Finland have opted to drop restrictions on competition, they might call for a bolder initiative by the Commission – with less protectionist regulations – mainly regarding the provision of universal service. Countries which are far behind in restructuring the sector are expected to oppose the proposed 2009 deadline and advocate a later date for full liberalisation.

Several other West European countries and almost all new member states are performing quite poorly and will need to step up reforms – such as Ireland, Greece and Spain. Germany, UK, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Belgium are around or above the EU average.

 

Damn the social

Consequences

 

CAEF has for several years pointed out that the privatisation threat to the Post Office network and services is due in the main to EU Directives.

  In Britain the reform of the postal service and closure of Post offices has been going on since 1997.  Over 3,500 post offices have been closed since New Labour came to power in 1997 and 1,500 post offices have been closed since October 2002. The Government has handed business normally carried out by the Post Office to banks and building societies. This includes payment of pensions and benefits.

Even though 4.3 million people use the Post Office Card Account this is to be shut down in three years time.

The BBC has handed TV licensing to a private rival of the PO. Tesco has bought a chain of shops with Post Offices and is now closing these.

Those who will be inconvenienced especially in rural areas, include the disabled, pensioners without cars or buses or those on or near the bread line.

To show the strength of opposition to what amounts to full scale privatisation of the postal system and Post Offices four million people signed a petition, the biggest ever in Britain.

Sub Post Masters, the National Convention of Pensioners, Age Concern, other organisations and Lib-Dem MPs have campaigned to halt the closures. They have made clear there are social consequences – the Government does not care a damn. It is a waste of time to complain to the UK government. As they have no authority in this whatsoever complete control has been transferred to Brussels. Only UKIP have tried to publicise this but have been gagged by the BBC.

 

This whole question needs exposing further, especially the EU factor, and CAEF leaflets will be issued. The subject needs raising sharply in all organisations.

 

The Post Office was a service with all letters having a common stamp whether to a local address or to the other end of the country.

It is now to be a business where it will not be economic to deliver letters to remote letter boxes. The complicit UK government has systematically stripped the Post Office of profitable business.

The EU allows French and German (still nationalised) services to ‘cherry pick’ UK postal services. The Post Office is left with the uneconomic rump of the postal operations and quite unviable as a business.

For further information phone Gerard Batten the MEP for London

EU postal reforms spark heated debate and

problems

Based on piece by Lucia Kubosova of EUOBSERVER

The European Commission is set to propose a full liberalisation of postal services by 2009, which will force member states to stop protecting public operators from national or cross-border competition. Brussels expects the move may spark “quite a polarised political debate” across Europe, according to one official, as a number of jobs in the public sector are at stake in several countries.

Privatisation initiated in 1997

The EU triggered this reform in 1997, introduced some modifications in  2002 while the so-called “third postal services directive” – likely to get a go-ahead by the Commission in early November – will prompt the full opening-up of  the sector.

According to a draft proposal seen by EUobserver, the EU executive will suggest a scrapping of the concept of “reservable areas” to which member states can currently restrict access to certain operators. But it will stick to the existing rule of “universal service obligation” where services must be provided to citizens – like delivery of letters and parcels within a certain time.

   More expensive letters

The commission believes that the postal reform may boost new technologies of delivery used by European consumers, such as sending an email to be delivered by mail. It may also lead to a different infrastructure – with post offices getting replaced by less costly franchised postal agencies or other service points in shops or petrol stations, already suggested by some German companies.

Still, it will be up to member states and national regulators to ensure that the postal services are well accessible across their territories through post offices, letter boxes or other points. While the prices in business correspondence are likely to fall – with more competition foreseen in this commercially lucrative area – prices of individual letters may shoot by up to 50 percent. This would mean the second class letter rate would be 35p and first class 48p.

Different pace of reforms

EU Member States already differ greatly on the extent to which they have carried out postal services reform and so will also differ strongly  in their views on the blueprint. While the UK, Sweden and Finland have opted to drop restrictions on competition, they might call for a bolder initiative by the Commission – with less protectionist regulations – mainly regarding the provision of universal service. Countries which are far behind in restructuring the sector are expected to oppose the proposed 2009 deadline and advocate a later date for full liberalisation.

Several other West European countries and almost all new member states are performing quite poorly and will need to step up reforms – such as Ireland, Greece and Spain. Germany, UK, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Belgium are around or above the EU average.

 

Damn the social

Consequences

 

CAEF has for several years pointed out that the privatisation threat to the Post Office network and services is due in the main to EU Directives.

  In Britain the reform of the postal service and closure of Post offices has been going on since 1997.  Over 3,500 post offices have been closed since New Labour came to power in 1997 and 1,500 post offices have been closed since October 2002. The Government has handed business normally carried out by the Post Office to banks and building societies. This includes payment of pensions and benefits.

Even though 4.3 million people use the Post Office Card Account this is to be shut down in three years time.

The BBC has handed TV licensing to a private rival of the PO. Tesco has bought a chain of shops with Post Offices and is now closing these.

Those who will be inconvenienced especially in rural areas, include the disabled, pensioners without cars or buses or those on or near the bread line.

To show the strength of opposition to what amounts to full scale privatisation of the postal system and Post Offices four million people signed a petition, the biggest ever in Britain.

Sub Post Masters, the National Convention of Pensioners, Age Concern, other organisations and Lib-Dem MPs have campaigned to halt the closures. They have made clear there are social consequences – the Government does not care a damn. It is a waste of time to complain to the UK government. As they have no authority in this whatsoever complete control has been transferred to Brussels. Only UKIP have tried to publicise this but have been gagged by the BBC.

 

This whole question needs exposing further, especially the EU factor, and CAEF leaflets will be issued. The subject needs raising sharply in all organisations.

 

The Post Office was a service with all letters having a common stamp whether to a local address or to the other end of the country.

It is now to be a business where it will not be economic to deliver letters to remote letter boxes. The complicit UK government has systematically stripped the Post Office of profitable business.

The EU allows French and German (still nationalised) services to ‘cherry pick’ UK postal services. The Post Office is left with the uneconomic rump of the postal operations and quite unviable as a business.

For further information phone Gerard Batten the MEP for London

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http://www.edp24. co.uk/content/ edp24/news/ story.aspx? brand=EDPOnline& category= News&tBrand= EDPOnline& tCategory= xDefault& itemid=NOED01% 20Oct%202009% 2023%3A06% 3A03%3A963

Pensioners in East Anglia are having to depend on family and friends
to access their local post office after swingeing cuts hit rural
communities.

Those living in isolated villages have been left particularly badly
hit following the Post Office’s swathe of branch closures under tough
cost-cutting measures last year.

It comes as a new government report revealed that as many as five
million people struggle to get to their local post office.

The report by the Department for Communities and Local Government
found that one in 10 households – equating to five million people in
England – had problems accessing their local branch.

Figures in the Survey of English Housing show the proportion of people
reporting difficulties getting to a post office increased from 5pc in
1997, when Labour came into power, to 10pc in 2007-08.

Last year the Post Office closed 50 branches in Norfolk as part of its
controversial Network Change programme to shut 2,500 outlets
nationwide.

Pensioners’ groups have described post offices as a “lifeline” for
older people and have expressed concern at the figures.

Norman Huke, from the Norfolk and Norwich Pensioners’ Association,
said that its members had found ways to overcome difficulties in
accessing post office services, with some relying on friends and
family for help.

He said: “This is mainly a problem in rural areas. In some villages it
means a bus trip, depending on whether there is a bus. A lot of them
do manage. They perhaps send a daughter along. They find methods of
getting it done, someway or another they live with it. But it is a
problem – there is no doubt about it.”

The group’s president Edith Pocock echoed Mr Huke’s comments and
added: “Not all elderly people have the luxury of having friends or
family nearby who can help. If they have to get a bus into a village
they will probably be stuck there for two or three hours, probably
even longer, then it is like a job to get your pension. They have to
manage, there is no alternative.”

Andrew Harrop, head of public policy at Age Concern and Help the Aged,
said: “The increased difficulty in accessing post offices is a matter
of concern for us as many older people rely on them heavily for a
variety of services.

“More worryingly, the recent spate of post office closures is bound to
reduce the service’s accessibility even further.

“Our research shows that post offices are a real lifeline for older
people, who use them as a ‘one-stop shop’ to access their pension and
benefits, pay their bills, get advice and information, as well as meet
and socialise with others.”

Peter Smith, development officer at Norfolk Rural Community Council,
said that communities where there have been post office closures have
been hit hard.

“The impact, where there has been a closure, certainly for the short
term, has been very high,” he said.

“A lot of those closures were within other businesses like shops or
pubs. In shops, the impact on business has been very high indeed. What
has happened is that the footfall going into the post office was also
buying bread and eggs etc. Now that footfall has decreased there has
been an impact on the local economy.”

He said that people had to accept there would be change, but added
that it was those with the greatest need who are most likely to be
left at a disadvantage.

“Of the 10% who have difficulty in getting access, I bet the majority
of them are those with the greatest need who do not have support from
friends and neighbours,” he said.

Mr Smith also said that the figures did not necessarily paint a gloomy
picture. “My immediate reaction is that this means 90pc can reach
their local post office,” he said.

“We have been at the forefront of the post office situation in terms
of fighting and helping. Norfolk had a lower proportion of closures
than any other county, so Norfolk relative to other areas did not do
that badly.”

A Post Office spokesman said that its network of post offices meets
the access criteria set by government. She added that a current
funding package agreed by the government is in place until 2011. She
could not speculate on the situation beyond 2011 and said that any
further review would be a matter for the government.

EU Postal Legislation  The cause of the destruction of our postal service

Introduction

The purpose of Community policy in the postal sector is to complete the internal market for postal services and to ensure, through an appropriate regulatory framework, that efficient, reliable and good-quality postal services are available throughout the European Union to all its citizens at affordable prices. The importance of postal services both for the economic prosperity and social well-being and cohesion of the EU make this a priority area for Community action.

Objectives of Community Postal Policy Framework

To achieve this broad purpose a number of specific objectives for action at Community level have been identified:

  • To define at Community level a universal postal service, conceived as a right of access to postal services for users, encompassing a minimum range of services of specified quality which must be provided in all Member States at affordable prices for the benefit of all users, irrespective of their geographical location
  • To set a common maximum limit to the extent of the postal reserved areas which each Member State may grant to its provider(s) of the universal service, in order to ensure the economic and financial viability of the provision of the universal service
  • To develop a process of gradual and controlled market opening to competition while giving the Member States means to ensure that the provision of universal service is guaranteed on a lasting basis
  • To improve the quality of postal services by setting at Community level common quality of service standards for intra-Community cross-border mail and ensuring that standards for national mail are set and publicised (in line with those intra-Community standards), and that performance results are published
  • To establish the principle that tariffs should be related to costs and to ensure that the financing of the provision of universal service is carried out in a transparent manner compatible with Community law
  • To encourage harmonisation of technical standards, taking users’ interests into account
  • To ensure that fair conditions of competition exist outside the reserved sector
  • To encourage and assist the postal sector to adapt rapidly and effectively to technological progress and changes in demand
  • To ensure that the needs of users, the interests of employees and the general importance of the postal sector for the economic, cultural and social development and cohesion of the Community (including the special difficulties encountered by remote regions) are taken into account when regulating the sector
  • To co-ordinate the development of postal policy with other Community policies and to ensure a consistent approach to overlapping issues
  • To adopt an approach to international postal traffic (in particular in relation to the EFTA countries and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in the light of the EU enlargement) which is consistent with the above objectives and reflects the same priorities, in co-operation with third countries and international bodies

Directive 97/67/EC

The above mentioned Community objectives for postal services have been implemented in Community law through a Framework Postal Directive which established a complete regulatory framework for European postal services.

Directive 97/67/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 1997 on common rules for the development of the internal market of Community postal services and the improvement of quality of service.

Inter alia, the Postal Directive:

  • defines the minimum characteristics of the universal service to be guaranteed by each Member State (on its territory);
  • sets common limits for reserved services which may be reserved for the universal service provider(s) in each Member States and a timetable for further gradual and controlled liberalisation; lays down the principles to govern the authorisation/licensing of non-reserved services;
  • defines the tariff principles applicable to the universal service as well as the transparency of the accounts of the universal service providers;
  • governs the setting of quality of service standards for national and intra-Community cross-border services and envisages that Member States will do the same at national level;
  • confirms the mechanisms to encourage technical harmonisation in the postal sector (see CEN activities described below);
  • deals with the consultation of interested parties;
  • requires the creation of national regulatory authorities independent of the postal operators.

Directive 2002/39/EC

On 10 June 2002, the European Parliament and the Council formally adopted the Postal Directive 2002/39/EC, which amends the initial Postal Directive (97/67/EC) by defining further steps in the process of gradual and controlled market opening and further limiting the service sectors that can be reserved.

According to the Directive, Member States must exempt from competition items of correspondence:

  • weighing less than 100 gr and costing less than three times the basic tariff as from 1 January 2003 (i.e. an estimated 9 % market opening to competition);
  • weighing less than 50 gr and costing less than two-and-a-half times the basic tariff as from 1 January 2006 (i.e. an estimated additional 7 % market opening to competition).

 

Furthermore, all outgoing cross-border mail is open to competition since 1 January 2003 (i.e. an additional estimated 3 % market opening to competition), although exceptions will be possible where these are necessary to maintain the universal service – for example if revenue from cross-border mail is necessary to finance the domestic universal service – or where the national postal service in a given Member State has particular characteristics.
Finally, the Directive sets 1 January 2009 as a possible date for the full accomplishment of the Internal Market for postal services, to be confirmed (or changed) by co-decision procedure: in other words with the agreement of both the European Parliament and the Council. The Directive envisages that the Commission will present a proposal based on a study assessing, for each Member State, the impact on universal service of further opening up of the postal market.
In the meantime, the Commission will keep the European Parliament and the Council informed about the development of the Internal Market for postal services. In practical terms, the new Directive requires the Commission to submit regularly, (every two years), a report on the application of the Postal Directive including the appropriate information about developments in the sector – particularly economic, social, employment and technological aspects – as well as about the quality of service.

Directive 2008/6/EC

On 20 February, the European Parliament and the Council formally adopted the Directive 2008/06/ECpdf Choose translations of the previous link , which amends the initial Postal Directive (97/67/EC) as amended by Directive 2002/39/EC by defining 2010, and for some Member States 2012, as a final step in the process of gradual market opening.
According to the Directive, Member States must abolish any remaining reserved areas by 2010, with the possibility for some Member States to postpone full market opening by two further years as a maximum. A temporary reciprocity may apply to those Member States that make use of the transitional period.
In the meantime, the Commission will actively assist Member States in transposing the new Postal Directive, while at the same time closely monitoring the market and regulatory developments in the postal sector in order to safeguard the objectives of the EU postal policy. To this end, the Commission will also prepare its 4th Application Report by the end of 2008 to keep the European Parliament and the Council informed about the latest developments in the sector.

Legislative and regulatory timetable for market opening process

1992 Green Paper on the development of the single market for postal services (COM/91/476). This document is not available in electronic format.
1994 Council Resolution of 7 February 1994 on the development of Community postal services (COM/93/247).
1997 1st Postal Directive (97/67/EC).
1998 Notice from the Commission on the application of the competition rules the postal sector and on the assessment of certain State measures relating to postal services (98/C39/02pdf).
1999 1st reduction of the “reserved area”.
2002 2nd Postal Directive (2002/39/EC).1st Commission Report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of the Postal Directive (COM/2002/632)
2003 2nb reduction of the “reserved area”.
2004 2nb Commission Report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of the Postal Directive (COM/2005/102).
2006 3rd reduction of the “reserved area”.
2006 Commission Prospective study on the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2009.
2006 3rd Commission Report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of the Postal Directive.
2006 Proposal of the 3rd Postal Directive (COM/2006/594 final). This proposal is accompanied by the Commission’s prospective study in the impact of full market opening (COM/2006/596 final), an Impact assessmentpdf Choose translations of the previous link  and the third Report on the Application of the postal Directive (COM/2006/595 final).
2008 3rd Postal Directive (2008/06/ECpdf Choose translations of the previous link )
2008 4th Commission Report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of the Postal Directive. PDFBulgarianCeštinaDanskDeutschEesti keele???????EnglishEspañolFrançaisItalianoLatviešu valodaLietuviµ kalbaMagyarMaltiNederlandsPolskiPortuguêsRomanianSlovencinaSlovenšcinaSuomiSvenska
2010 Full market opening for 16 Member States, which represent 95% of the internal postal market.
Commission decission establishing the European Regulators Group for Postal Services, ERGP (2010/C 217/07pdf)
2012 Full market opening for remaining Member States that may use the possibility of transitional period.

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