Discussion Papers

Ulrich Stumpf, Frank Pieper

The Development of the Single Market for Postal Services: Comments on the Green Paper
Nr. 98 / Oktober 1992


The CEC-Green Paper on the development of the single market for Postal Services is a discussion document on the Community postal policy. The starting point of the Green Paper is the universal service obligation: all citizens, businesses and organizations of the Community should have access to good and reliable postal services (universal service obligation). Moreover, the Green Paper concludes that in order to achieve this aim it is necessary to establish a set of reserved services. The size of this reserved area should be no larger than is necessary to ensure the universal service obligation. In the first part of this discussion paper we analyse the economics behind this priciple of proportionality. In our view, there are strong arguments to define the universal service obligation less strictly, e.g., with regard to volume posters. In combination with some other arguments we derive the conclusion that the required reserved area is usually overestimated.

The second part of this discussion paper deals with the regulation of postal administrations. In return for special rights the reserved service provider has several obligations concerning prices, access and quality. The proposed liberalization implies that the universal service provider should have greater freedom. In order to make competition between postal administrations and private operatores workable, competitive distortions have to be removed. The universal service provider should have the chance to be a successful competitor on liberalized postal markets.

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