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TRAN Committee discusses Postal Directive

European Parliament, Brussels, 04.06.2007

Monday 4 June 2007

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The Transport committee in the European Parliament met on 4 June to debate the reforming of the EU’s postal sector. However, agreement on the ’Ferber report’ still seems far away.

After having received 600 amendments, rapporteur Markus Ferber (EPP-ED) presented his compromise which he wishes to bring forward in the plenary session before the summer recess. He highlights six areas that continue to cause major disagreement between the different committees and political groups:

1. Universal service (definition)
2. Employment
3. Further research/studies
4. Financing mechanisms (Universal service)
5. Reciprocity
6. Licenses

With regard to the new date, suggested by Ferber, of 31.12.2010 with a maximum prolongation of 2 years for new member states and states with specific geographical problems, Ferber seems to have gained some more support. However, shadow rapporteur Brian Simpson (PES) stated that this date does not entirely please him. After having consulted postal operators, mainly from the new member states, he believes more time is needed and therefore suggests 01.01.2012.

A delegation from the European Commission also attended the debate. The Commission stressed that the sooner the reform of the postal sector takes place, the better. It is feasible and desirable, particularly for the users. The Commission was also being criticized by a few MEPs for not having clearly defined some terms used in their communication.

It can be said today that liberalisation of the postal services in the EU is a fact. The remaining disagreements are largely of a technical nature. Reluctance exists with regard to the pace and the integrity of the process. The discussion on working conditions and fair competition for instance is not over yet. On 18 June it is foreseen that the TRAN committee will vote on the Ferber report. With 600 amendments, this is expected to be a lengthy session.

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