The EU Postal Services Directive has been in force since 1997, i.e. for more than 20 years, with almost unchanged requirements for a universal postal service that the EU Member States have to ensure. In recent years, digitisation and growing online trade have led to fundamental changes in postal markets, which are also reflected in changing consumer and business needs for the universal postal service. The European Commission asked us to identify the changing user needs within the EU and other countries (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Great Britain). On the national level, user needs are different yet there is a general trend to send less letters. In many Member States, users will be ready to accept service cuts in the future.
The EU Postal Services Directive has not yet been subject to a comprehensive evaluation since its inception. In the second part of the study we conclude that the Directive has played an important role for the development of postal markets within the EU, e.g. by ensuring universal service provision and as a driver for high-quality transit time of international postal items. However, we identify a need for revision, among others regarding the scope of universal services. We recommend to introduce more flexibility to enable national postal regulation to be adapted to different developments of postal markets, and to focus on reliability in the area of quality targets.
The study's analyses and findings feed into the European Commission's review process to develop proposals on whether and how to amend the EU Postal Services Directive in the light of the rapidly changing EU postal market.
The study is available for download.