The European Commission has confirmed its intention to completely de-regulate the European postal services market by 2009. The European Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie Mc Creevy announced the decision: “We agreed to launch the final step towards full competition in the postal market, in proposing 2009 as the date when full competition should come into effect,” he said.
Supporters see de-regulation of the sector as essential for the modernisation of the EU’s single market in goods and services. However, critics like France and Spain say measures allowing governments to subsidise the delivery of letters to sparsely populated regions do not go far enough.
Though partial liberalisation of the sector has been in place since 2002, this did not include post weighing less than 50-grams which remained part of the old postal monopolies for many States. Now the EU Commission hopes that the success of full liberalisation in countries like Sweden might persuade reluctant nations. Meanwhile in Britain subpostmasters have taken to the streets to demand the government protect local post offices there. Some five million people across Europe are employed by the postal sector which is estimated to be worth 90 billion euros.