On 7 January 2020, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway submitted a joint EEA EFTA Comment on the ongoing review of Directive 2008/6/EC (Postal Services Directive). The European Commission has conducted a public consultation during the second half of 2020, and aims to adopt a final evaluation of the Postal Services Directive by mid-2021. In the Comment, the EEA EFTA States support the need to review the current regulatory framework for postal services and to assess if it is still fit for purpose in light of recent market developments.
The Postal Services Directive was adopted in 1997 in order to create an internal market for postal services by means of gradual liberalisation, while ensuring that citizens and businesses throughout the EU could access a minimum set of postal services. The Directive was subsequently revised in 2002 and 2008. In recent years, the market for postal services has undergone significant changes, brought about by digitisation, e-commerce and new customer preferences. The coronavirus crisis has also brought to the forefront the importance of sustainable and affordable postal services for citizens and businesses across the EEA.
The EEA EFTA States highlight that the substantial changes in the postal market have created a complicated regulatory situation which requires a sufficient degree of flexibility in the regulatory response. In particular, with regard to future universal service requirements, frequency of delivery should adapt to the changing demand for postal services based on consumer needs and geographical cost.
The Comment notes that the new framework should set a clear scope for the postal sector, specifically identifying the services and products that fall within its scope, including clear definitions. This is important to ensure a unified understanding of the framework within the entire EEA.
Furthermore, the EEA EFTA States place a strong emphasis on the user needs of vulnerable groups in society. A future regulatory framework should leave enough room for countries to address national specifics and safeguard the interests of people living in rural areas, elderly people, people with disabilities or people with low digital skills.
Read the full text of the EEA EFTA Comment here.
A full list of EEA EFTA Comments is available here.
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