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The EU Regulatory Framework for Access to the Postal Network

Yvan Desmedt, Karl Stas


The Postal Directive does not oblige Member States to mandate access to the postal network of the universal service provider or to regulate the conditions under which such access is provided. It is left to the discretion of the Member States whether to introduce a mandatory access regime or not. If Member States decide to introduce such a regime, they must take into account that, at least where bulk mail is still part of the universal service, the tariff conditions for so-called ‘downstream’ access to the postal networks must respect the non-discrimination obligation of Article 12, 5th indent of the Postal Directive. This implies that no distinction can be made between, on the one hand, postal operators competing end-to-end with the universal service providers, and, on the other hand, bulk mailers or intermediaries working on their behalf, who inject mail under the same operational conditions. Also from a policy perspective, it does not seem desirable to allow such a difference in treatment (ie, ‘positive discrimination’ in favour of end-to-end competitors) as it is likely to be counter-productive for the development of competition in the postal sector.

Yvan Desmedt, Lawyer, Jones Day, Brussels. Karl Stas, Lawyer, Crowell & Moring, Brussels. For correspondence: <> and <>.


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