Full postal liberalisation by 2011 fails to guarantee universal service, warns ETUC
In the view of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), this new sector liberalisation proposal shows that the European Commission lacks an overall vision of the general need for universal services. Normally, guaranteeing such provisions should come before moves to liberalise essential sectors like postal services, to safeguard the economic and social cohesion of the European Union. Before changes are made, a framework directive on services of general interest should guarantee continuity of supply and fair access for everyone.
The Council of Ministers in Luxembourg approved the total liberalisation of the postal market by 2011, without any clear indication of how postal services to rural, mountain and island-dwelling citizens will be financed. Up to now, protection for mail of up to 50 grams has ensured a basic postal service to all citizens at an affordable price. The ETUC believes it is essential that truly effective measures for financing a universal service are identified and implemented before pursuing full liberalisation of the postal sector.
Services in the EU need clear rules to guarantee continuity of supply and fair access for everyone. Together with other key stakeholders, the ETUC has already presented a draft framework directive, offering the Commission a basis to work from in drawing up framework legislation to safeguard services of general interest and preserve the rights of workers and citizens. However, despite repeated requests, the Commission has not so far made any proposal, but instead continues to push for sectoral liberalisation without putting in place a general framework to guarantee respect for principles such as equal access, high-quality services, fair prices, universality, security and social justice.
The ETUC petition “for high quality public services, accessible to all” has already been signed by 470,000 citizens. Through this petition, the ETUC calls on the Commission to propose a legislative framework to guarantee services of general interest and preserve the rights of workers and citizens.
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