Процедура : 2006/0196(COD)
Етапи на разглеждане в заседание
Етапи на разглеждане на документа : A6-0246/2007

Внесени текстове :

A6-0246/2007

Разисквания :

PV 10/07/2007 - 5
CRE 10/07/2007 - 5

Гласувания :

PV 11/07/2007 - 7.10
CRE 11/07/2007 - 7.10
Обяснение на вота

Приети текстове :

P6_TA(2007)0336

ДОКЛАД     ***I
PDF 632kWORD 1016k
27.6.2007
PE 386.309v02-00 A6-0246/2007

по предложението за директива на Европейския парламент и на Съвета за изменение на Директива 97/67/ЕО относно пълното изграждане на вътрешния пазар на пощенските услуги в Общността

(COM(2006)0594 – C6‑0354/2006 – 2006/0196(COD))

Комисия по транспорт и туризъм

Докладчик: Markus Ferber

ЗАКОНОДАТЕЛНА ПРОЕКТОРЕЗОЛЮЦИЯ НА ЕВРОПЕЙСКИЯ ПАРЛАМЕНТ
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
 OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development
 ПРОЦЕДУРА

ЗАКОНОДАТЕЛНА ПРОЕКТОРЕЗОЛЮЦИЯ НА ЕВРОПЕЙСКИЯ ПАРЛАМЕНТ

относно предложението за директива на Европейския парламент и на Съвета за изменение на Директива 97/67/ЕО относно пълното изграждане на вътрешния пазар на пощенските услуги в Общността

(COM(2006)0594 – C6‑0354/2006 – 2006/0196(COD))

(Процедура на съвместно вземане на решение: първо четене)

Европейският парламент,

–   като взе предвид предложението на Комисията до Европейския парламент и до Съвета (COM(2006)0594)(1),

–   като взе предвид член 251, параграф 2, член 47, параграф 2 и членове 55 и 95 от Договора за ЕО, съгласно които предложението му е представено от Комисията (C6‑0354/2006),

–   като взе предвид член 51 от своя правилник,

–   като взе предвид доклада на Комисията по транспорт и туризъм и становищата на Комисията по икономически и парични въпроси, Комисията по заетост и социални въпроси, Комисията по промишленост, изследвания и енергетика, Комисията по вътрешен пазар и защита на потребителите и Комисията по регионално развитие (A6‑0246/2007),

1.  одобрява предложението на Комисията във вида, в който е изменено;

2.  призовава Комисията да се отнесе до него отново, в случай че възнамерява да внесе съществени изменения в своето предложение или да го замени с друг текст;

3.  възлага на своя председател да предаде позицията на Парламента на Съвета и на Комисията.

Текст, предложен от Комисията  Изменения, внесени от Парламента

Изменение 1

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 3 A (ново)

 

3 a) Положителната роля на услугите от общ икономически интерес бе подчертана в Специален Евробарометър 219 от октомври 2005 г., където се посочва, че според потребителите в ЕС пощенските услуги са най-високо ценените услуги от общ икономически интерес, като 77% от анкетираните дават положителен отговор на този въпрос.

Обосновка

The SGEI embody Union values and we should emphasise the importance European Union consumers attach to the postal services and the high level of consumer satisfaction they achieve.

Emphasis should be placed on the high degree of satisfaction of postal users in the European Union.

It is necessary to put the stress on the high degree of satisfaction of postal users in the European Union.

Изменение 2

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 3 Б (ново)

 

3б) Поради факта, че пощенските услуги представляват основно средство за комуникация и обмен на информация, те играят важна роля за приноса към социалното, икономическо и териториално сближаване на Европейския съюз.

Обосновка

Postal services significantly contribute to the economic development of urban and rural regions and constitute a major element of social cohesion in both urban areas and rural areas.

Изменение 3

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 4 A (ново)

 

4a) Европейските пощенски пазари претърпяха драстични промени през последните години, промени, настъпили в резултат на технологичния прогрес и засилената конкуренция вследствие на дерегулацията на пазара.

Изменение 4

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 6

(6) В резолюцията на Европейския парламент от 2 февруари 2006 г. се изтъкна социалното и икономическо значение на ефективните пощенски услуги и тяхната важна роля в рамките на Лисабонската стратегия, като се посочи, че предприетите досега мерки за реформа са довели до значително и положително развитие в пощенския сектор, придружено от подобрено качество, по-голяма ефективност и насоченост към потребностите на клиентите.

(6) В резолюцията на Европейския парламент от 2 февруари 2006 г. се изтъкна социалното и икономическо значение на ефективните пощенски услуги и тяхната важна роля в рамките на Лисабонската стратегия, като се посочи, че предприетите досега мерки за реформа са довели до значително и положително развитие в пощенския сектор, придружено от подобрено качество, по-голяма ефективност и насоченост към потребностите на клиентите. В тази резолюция Комисията се призовава, с оглед на понякога осезаемите различия по отношение на задълженията за предоставяне на универсална услуга в държавите-членки, при изготвяне на своето проучване на перспективите, да обърне по-специално внимание на качеството на предоставяната универсална услуга и на бъдещото й финансиране, и в контекста на това проучване, да предложи определение, обхват и подходящо финансиране за универсалната услуга. В резолюцията също така се отбелязва незаменимото териториално и социално измерение на пощенските мрежи, което позволява универсалния достъп до основни местни услуги.

 

Обосновка

Reference should be made to the very specific points which the Commission was asked to address, in Parliament's Resolution of 2 February 2006 on the application of the Postal Directive, as it prepared to begin work on its prospective study.

The essential role postal services play in the issue of social and territorial cohesion were highlighted in the European Parliament Resolution and they should also be in this Directive.

Изменение 5

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 7

(7) В съответствие с Директива 97/67/ЕО се проведе проучване на перспективите, оценяващо за всяка държава-членка въздействието върху универсалната услуга на доизграждането на вътрешния пазар на пощенски услуги през 2009 г. Комисията също предприе пълен преглед на пощенския сектор на Общността, включително възлагането на изследвания във връзка с икономическото, социално и технологично развитие в сектора, и проведе подробни консултации със заинтересованите страни.

 

(7) В съответствие с Директива 97/67/ЕО се проведе проучване на перспективите, оценяващо за всяка държава-членка въздействието върху универсалната услуга на доизграждането на вътрешния пазар на пощенски услуги през 2009 г. Комисията също предприе пълен преглед на пощенския сектор на Общността, включително възлагането на изследвания във връзка с икономическото, социално и технологично развитие в сектора, и проведе подробни консултации със заинтересованите страни. Въпреки това, все още не е налице проучване на въздействието върху околната среда за всяка отделна страна, при което да се отчита националното географско разнообразие.

 

Обосновка

The Commission has not yet produced any separate environmental impact assessments for each of the 27 Member States. It must be borne in mind, that mail deliveries cannot be assessed using exactly the same criteria for all territories, including countries with no geographical obstacles on the one hand and, those with large rural, mountain or island areas on the other.

Изменение 6

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 8

(8) Съгласно проучването на перспективите, основната цел - защита на трайното предоставяне на универсална услуга, отговаряща на стандарта за качество, определен от държавите-членки в съответствие с Директива 97/67/ЕО - може да бъде постигната в цялата Общност до 2009 г., без при това да е необходим резервиран сектор.

 

(8) В проучването на перспективите се посочва, че основната цел - защита на трайното предоставяне на универсална услуга, отговаряща на стандарта за качество, определен от държавите-членки в съответствие с Директива 97/67/ЕО - може да бъде постигната в цялата Общност до 2009 г., без при това да е необходим резервиран сектор. Въпреки това, проучването на перспективите не даде достатъчно доказателства, че ако пощенският пазар бъде отворен напълно през 2009 г., предоставянето на универсалната услуга може да бъде гарантирано в еднаква степен във всички държави-членки.

 

Обосновка

The prospective study leaves doubts as to the sustainable provision of universal service in every Member State.

Изменение 7

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 10

(10) Проучването на перспективите показва, че резервираният сектор вече не трябва да бъде предпочитаното решение за финансиране на универсалната услуга. Тази оценка взема предвид интересите на Общността и нейните държави-членки при осъществяването на вътрешния пазар и неговия потенциал за осигуряване на растеж и работни места, както и за гарантиране на предлагането на ефективна услуга от общ икономически интерес за всички потребители. Следователно е целесъобразно датата 1 януари 2009 г. да бъде потвърдена като краен срок за завършване на изграждането на вътрешния пазар за пощенски услуги.

 

(10) Проучването на перспективите показва, че резервираният сектор вече не трябва да бъде предпочитаното решение за финансиране на универсалната услуга. Тази оценка взема предвид интересите на Общността и нейните държави-членки при осъществяването на вътрешния пазар и неговия потенциал за осигуряване на растеж и работни места, както и за гарантиране на предлагането на ефективна услуга от общ икономически интерес за всички потребители.

 

Изменение 8

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 11

(11) Съществуват редица двигатели за промяна в рамките на пощенския сектор, предимно търсене и развитие на потребностите на клиентите, организационни промени, автоматизация и въвеждане на нови технологии, заместващи електронни средства за съобщения и отваряне на пазара.

 

(11) Съществуват редица двигатели за промяна в рамките на пощенския сектор, предимно търсене и развитие на потребностите на клиентите, организационни промени, автоматизация и въвеждане на нови технологии, заместващи електронни средства за съобщения и отваряне на пазара. В отговор на конкуренцията, посрещането на новите изисквания на потребителите и осигуряване на нови източници на финансиране, доставчиците на пощенската услуга могат да разнообразят дейността си, като предоставят електронни бизнес услуги или други услуги, свързани с информационното общество.

 

Обосновка

The provision of electronic business services and other information society services may enable postal service providers to secure new market sectors developing in parallel with traditional postal services.

Изменение 9

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 11 A (ново)

 

11a) Доставчиците на пощенската услуга, в това число и посочените доставчици на универсалната услуга, са принудени да подобряват ефективността си във връзка с новите предизвикателства на конкуренцията, които се различават от традиционните пощенски услуги (като например цифровизацията и електронните съобщения) и това само по себе си ще доведе до голямо повишаване на конкурентоспособността.

Обосновка

Postal service providers – including the universal service providers – are being forced to modernise and improve efficiency, thanks to the major competitive challenge of the non-traditional tools and possibilities arising from the achievements of new technology.

Изменение 10

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 12

(12) Пълното отваряне на пазарите на пощенски услуги ще благоприятства увеличаването на общия им обем; то ще допринесе за поддържане на устойчива и качествена заетост в рамките на доставчиците на универсални услуги, както и за улесняване на създаването на нови работни места в други оператори, в новите участници в пазара и в свързаните с тях икономически отрасли. Настоящата директива не накърнява компетентността на държавите-членки да регулират трудовите условия в сектора на пощенските услуги.

 

(12) Постепенното отваряне на пазарите на пощенски услуги може, при внимателна подготовка, да благоприятства увеличаването на общия им обем; то може също така, при наличието на условия, обезпечаващи неутралността на конкуренцията, да допринесе за поддържане на устойчива и качествена заетост в рамките на доставчиците на универсални услуги, както и за улесняване на създаването на нови работни места в други оператори, в новите участници в пазара и в свързаните с тях икономически отрасли. Настоящата директива не накърнява компетентността на държавите-членки да регулират трудовите условия в сектора на пощенските услуги, което все пак не трябва да води до нелоялна конкуренция. При подготовката за отварянето на пощенския пазар, социалните съображения следва да се вземат надлежно предвид, като се обърне по-специално внимание на персонала, който преди това е бил ангажиран с доставката на пощенски услуги.

Обосновка

Market opening has to be carried out carefully; especially different employment conditions between the postal service providers should not lead to unfair competition.

Изменение 11

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 13

(13) Повишената конкурентоспособност би трябвало освен това да направи възможно интегрирането на пощенския сектор с други методи за съобщения и да позволи подобряването на качеството на услугата, предоставяна на все по-взискателните ползватели.

(13) Повишената конкурентоспособност би трябвало освен това да направи възможно интегрирането на пощенския сектор с други методи за съобщения и да позволи подобряването на качеството на услугата, предоставяна на все по-взискателните ползватели. По-нататъшното отваряне на пазара ще продължи да е от полза за потребителите и особено за малките и средни предприятия, както като податели, така и като получатели на поща, като доведе до подобряване на качеството, по-широк избор, намаления на цените, новаторски услуги и стопански модели. Съвременният пощенски пазар е част от по-големия пазар за съобщения, включващ електронните съобщения, които следва да се вземат предвид, когато се оценява пазарът.

Обосновка

Specific advantages for consumers should be highlighted. In particular, as mail sent by consumers and only represents a small share of the total mail (approx.10%), as compared to the remaining mail sent by business, consumer benefits should be explained both from the sending and the receiving end (often paid by the consumers either directly, e.g. bank statements, electronic commerce purchasing or indirectly).

Postal services need to be seen in relation to the communications market as a whole, including electronic communications such as e-mails.

Изменение 12

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 13 А (ново)

 

(13а) Пощенската мрежа в селските райони и, наред с другото, в планинските и островните региони, играе съществена роля в интегрирането на стопанските дейности в националната/световната икономика и в поддържането на сближаването в социалната сфера и заетостта. Освен това пощенските услуги в селските райони, разположени в планински и островни региони, могат да осигурят съществена инфраструктурна мрежа за универсален достъп до нови телекомуникационни технологии.

 

 

Обосновка

For the inhabitants and the businesses situated in mountainous and island regions, the postal network constitutes a link to the economy outside these regions, as well as a link with new telecommunications technologies.

Изменение 13

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 14

(14) Развитието на съседните пазари на съобщенията е оказало различно въздействие в отделните региони на Общността и части от населението, както и върху използването на пощенски услуги. Териториалното и социално сближаване следва да продължи и като се има предвид, че държавите-членки могат да приспособят някои специфични аспекти на услугите към местото търсене чрез прилагане на гъвкавостта, предвидена в Директива 97/67/ЕО, уместно е да се запазят изцяло универсалната услуга и свързаните с нея изисквания за качеството, посочени в тази директива. С цел да се гарантира, че отварянето на пазара продължава да е от полза за всички ползватели, по-специално за потребителите и малките и средни предприятия, държавите-членки трябва да наблюдават и оказват надзор върху развитието на пазара. Те трябва да предприемат подходящи регулаторни мерки, предвидени в директивата, с цел да се гарантира, че достъпът до пощенски услуги продължава да задоволява потребностите на ползвателите, включително чрез гарантиране по целесъобразност на минимален брой услуги в една и съща точка за достъп.

(14) Развитието на съседните пазари на съобщенията е оказало различно въздействие в отделните региони на Общността и части от населението, както и върху използването на пощенски услуги. Териториалното и социално сближаване следва да продължи и като се има предвид, че държавите-членки могат да приспособят някои специфични аспекти на услугите към местото търсене чрез прилагане на гъвкавостта, предвидена в Директива 97/67/ЕО, уместно е да се запазят изцяло универсалната услуга и свързаните с нея изисквания за качеството, посочени в тази директива. С цел да се гарантира, че отварянето на пазара продължава да е от полза за всички ползватели, по-специално за потребителите на малки и средни предприятия, държавите-членки трябва да наблюдават и извършват надзор върху развитието на пазара. Те трябва да предприемат подходящи регулаторни мерки, предвидени в директивата, с цел да се гарантира, че достъпът до пощенски услуги продължава да задоволява потребността на ползвателите, включително чрез гарантиране по целесъобразност на минимален брой услуги в една и съща точка за достъп и особено, че няма намаляване на гъстотата на точките за достъп до пощенски услуги в селските и отдалечените региони. Същевременно, държавите-членки следва да въведат и прилагат подходящи санкции за доставчиците на услуга в случай че последните не спазват задълженията си.

Обосновка

This amendment is necessary in order to ensure that there is no deterioration in the accessibility of postal services in rural and remote regions, and that market opening does not jeopardise territorial cohesion.

Изменение 14

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 14 А (ново)

 

(14а) Универсалната услуга, обезпечена с Директива 96/97/ЕО, гарантира събиране и доставка до дома или до дадено помещение на всяко физическо или юридическо лице всеки работен ден, дори в отдалечени или рядко населени области.

Обосновка

It is necessary to further clarify that the directive guarantees the five days a week postal service in remote or sparsely-populated areas.

Изменение 15

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 14 Б (ново)

(14б) Понятието "потребители" включва отделните ползватели и търговски субекти, използващи универсалните услуги, освен ако не е посочено друго в Директива 97/67/ЕО.

Обосновка

Clarifying the definition of the term "users" in the Directive shall assist in the adoption of a coherent vocabulary in line with the one used in the previous Postal Services Directives.

Изменение 16

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 14 В (ново)

(14в) Предоставянето на висококачествени пощенски услуги допринася значително за постигането на целите на социалното и териториалното сближаване. Особено електронната търговия предлага на отдалечените и рядко-населените области нови възможности да участват в икономическия живот, важна предпоставка за което е предоставянето на добри пощенски услуги.

Обосновка

A separate recital is necessary to highlight the importance of postal services in rural, thinly populated and remote regions. In this connection it should be noted that e-commerce can secure access to goods and services in these regions in particular. However, e-commerce can only develop its full potential if adequate postal services are provided.

Изменение 17

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 15

(15)Директива 97/67/ЕО предвижда предоставянето на универсална услуга по предпочитание чрез определянето на доставчици на универсална услуга. Развитието на по-силна конкуренция и повече избор означава, че държавите-членки следва да имат допълнителна гъвкавост при определяне на най-ефективния и подходящ механизъм за осигуряване на предоставянето на универсалната услуга, като същевременно се зачитат принципите за обективност, прозрачност, недискриминация, пропорционалност и минимално нарушаване на пазара, необходими за гарантиране на свободното предоставяне на пощенски услуги във вътрешния пазар. Държавите-членки могат да прилагат една или съчетание от следните възможности: предоставяне на универсална услуга от пазарните сили, определяне на едно или няколко предприятия за предоставяне на различни аспекти на универсалната услуга или за покриване на различни части от територията и възлагането на обществени поръчки за услуги.

(15)Директива 97/67/ЕО предвижда предоставянето на универсална услуга по предпочитание чрез определянето на доставчици на универсална услуга. Развитието на по-силна конкуренция и повече избор означава, че държавите-членки следва да имат допълнителна гъвкавост при определяне на най-ефективния и подходящ механизъм за осигуряване на предоставянето на универсалната услуга, като същевременно се зачитат принципите за обективност, прозрачност, недискриминация, пропорционалност и минимално нарушаване на пазара, необходими за гарантиране на свободното предоставяне на пощенски услуги във вътрешния пазар. Държавите-членки могат да прилагат една или съчетание от следните възможности: предоставяне на универсална услуга от пазарните сили, определяне на едно или няколко предприятия за предоставяне на различни аспекти на универсалната услуга или за покриване на различни части от територията и възлагането на обществени поръчки за услуги.

 

В случай че държава-членка реши да определи едно или повече предприятия, които да предоставят универсалната услуга или които да предоставят отделните компоненти на универсалната услуга, трябва да се гарантира, че изискванията за качество на универсалната услуга се спазват и от другите доставчици на универсалната услуга.

Изменение 18

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 16

16) Важно е ползвателите да бъдат напълно осведомени за предоставяните универсални услуги, както и предприятията, предоставящи пощенски услуги, да бъдат осведомени относно правата и задълженията на доставчика(ците) на универсална услуга. Държавите-членки гарантират, че потребителите продължават да бъдат напълно осведомявани относно характеристиките и достъпа до предоставяните конкретни услуги. При все това е целесъобразно в съзвучие с подобрената гъвкавост на държавите-членки да се гарантира предоставянето на универсална услуга по начини, различаващи се от определянето на доставчик(ци) на универсална услуга, за да могат държавите-членки да разполагат с гъвкавост при решаване на това как тази информация да бъде предоставяна на обществеността.

16) Важно е ползвателите да бъдат напълно осведомени за предоставяните универсални услуги, както и предприятията, предоставящи пощенски услуги, да бъдат осведомени относно правата и задълженията на доставчика(ците) на универсална услуга. Държавите-членки гарантират, че потребителите продължават да бъдат напълно осведомявани относно характеристиките и достъпа до предоставяните конкретни услуги. Националните регулаторни органи следва да съблюдават за това, такава информация да бъде предоставяна. При все това е целесъобразно в съзвучие с подобрената гъвкавост на държавите-членки да се гарантира предоставянето на универсална услуга по начини, различаващи се от определянето на доставчик(ци) на универсална услуга, за да могат държавите-членки да разполагат с гъвкавост при решаване на това как тази информация да бъде предоставяна на обществеността.

Обосновка

Clarification is needed on what information should be available to the different users. However, it is important to safeguard the users' right to information, through monitoring of the national regulatory authorities.

Изменение 19

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 17

17) Предвид проведените изследвания и с оглед на освобождаването на целия потенциал на вътрешния пазар за пощенски услуги, уместно е да се преустанови използването на резервирания сектор и специалните права като начин за гарантиране на финансирането на универсалната услуга.

17) Предвид проведените изследвания и с оглед на освобождаването на целия потенциал на вътрешния пазар за пощенски услуги, уместно е да се преустанови използването на резервирания сектор и специалните права като начин за гарантиране на финансирането на универсалната услуга. С оглед на ситуацията в държавите-членки, целесъобразно е да се приеме края на 2010 г. като крайна дата за премахване на изключителните права в пощенския сектор.

Изменение 20

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 18

18) Външното финансиране на остатъчните нетни разходи за универсалната услуга може все още да бъде необходимо за някои държави-членки. Поради това е целесъобразно изрично да се изяснят наличните възможности за гарантиране на финансирането на универсалната услуга, доколкото това е необходимо и подходящо обосновано, като държавите-членки имат свобода на избор относно използваните инструменти за финансиране. Тези възможности включват използването на процедури за възлагане на обществени поръчки и във всички случаи, в които задълженията, свързани с универсалната услуга, предполагат нетни разходи за универсалната услуга и представляват несправедлива тежест за определените предприятия - обществени обезщетения и поделяне на разходите между доставчиците на услуги и/или потребителите по прозрачен начин чрез вноски в компенсационен фонд. Държавите-членки могат да използват други начини за финансиране в рамките на правото на Общността, например използване на печалбите, произтичащи от други дейности на доставчиците на универсална услуга извън обхвата на универсалната услуга, за финансиране изцяло или отчасти на нетните разходи за универсалната услуга, при условие, че те са съвместими с настоящата директива.

18) Външното финансиране на остатъчните нетни разходи за универсалната услуга може все още да бъде необходимо за някои държави-членки. Поради това е целесъобразно изрично да се изяснят наличните възможности за гарантиране на финансирането на универсалната услуга, доколкото това е необходимо и подходящо обосновано, като държавите-членки имат свобода на избор относно използваните инструменти за финансиране. Тези възможности включват използването на процедури за възлагане на обществени поръчки, включително пряко договорени процедури, и във всички случаи, в които задълженията, свързани с универсалната услуга, предполагат нетни разходи за универсалната услуга и представляват несправедлива тежест за определените предприятия - обществени обезщетения и поделяне на разходите между доставчиците на услуги и/или потребителите по прозрачен начин чрез вноски в компенсационен фонд. Държавите-членки могат да използват други начини за финансиране в рамките на правото на Общността, например използване на печалбите, произтичащи от други дейности на доставчиците на универсална услуга извън обхвата на универсалната услуга, за финансиране изцяло или отчасти на нетните разходи за универсалната услуга, при условие, че те са съвместими с настоящата директива. Без да се засяга задължението на държавите-членки да спазват правилата на Договора за ЕС, приложими към държавните помощи, държавите-членки следва да осведомяват Комисията за плановете си относно финансирането на евентуални нетни разходи за универсалната услуга, което следва да бъде отразено в редовния доклад, който Комисията представя пред Парламента и Съвета относно прилагането на тази директива.

Изменение 21

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 19

19) За да определят от кои предприятия може да се изисква да внасят суми в компенсационен фонд, държавите-членки следва да обмислят дали услугите, предоставяни от подобни предприятия, могат да се разглеждат от гледна точка на ползвателя като заместващи универсалните услуги, като се вземат предвид отличителните черти на услугите, включително тяхната добавена стойност и предназначение. За да бъдат счетени за заместващи, не е необходимо услугите да покриват всички аспекти на универсалната услуга, като ежедневна доставка или пълно национално покритие. За да бъдат в съответствие с принципа на пропорционалност при определяне на приноса на тези предприятия към разходите по предоставяне на универсална услуга в дадена държава-членка, държавите-членки следва да използват прозрачни и недискриминационни критерии като дела на тези предприятия в дейностите, попадащи в обхвата на универсалната услуга в тази държава-членка.

19) От предприятията, предоставящи услуги, които могат да заместват универсалната услуга, се изисква да допринасят за финансирането на универсалната услуга в случаи, когато е предвиден компенсационен фонд. За да определят кои предприятия са засегнати, държавите-членки следва да обмислят дали услугите, предоставяни от подобни предприятия, могат да се разглеждат от гледна точка на ползвателя като заместващи универсалните услуги, като се вземат предвид отличителните черти на услугите, включително тяхната добавена стойност и предназначение. За да бъдат счетени за заместващи, не е необходимо услугите да покриват всички аспекти на универсалната услуга, като ежедневна доставка или пълно национално покритие, при условие че могат да покрият поне един от аспектите на услуги предоставяни в рамките на универсалната услуга. За да бъдат в съответствие с принципа на пропорционалност при определяне на приноса на тези предприятия към разходите по предоставяне на универсална услуга в дадена държава-членка, държавите-членки следва да използват прозрачни и недискриминационни критерии.

Обосновка

L’emendamento si propone di rendere più chiara la nozione di “servizi sostitutivi”. E’ necessario infatti rendere esplicito che le imprese che offrono servizi sostitutivi devono contribuire al finanziamento del servizio universale, nei casi in cui sia previsto un fondo di compensazione.

L’emendamento chiarisce altresì che i servizi sostitutivi soggetti al contributo al fondo di compensazione sono quei servizi che presentano almeno una delle caratteristiche dei servizi forniti nell’ambito del servizio universale.

Infine, l’emendamento mira ad eliminare qualsiasi incertezza legata all’attuale formulazione del testo della Commissione. Infatti, devono contribuire al finanziamento del costo netto del servizio universale non solo le imprese che offrono servizi che rientrano nell’ambito del servizio universale, ma anche le imprese che forniscono servizi sostitutivi e cioè assimilabili al servizio universale.

Изменение 22

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 20

20) Принципите на прозрачност, недискриминация и пропорционалност, съдържащи се в Директива 97/67/ЕО, трябва да продължат да се прилагат към всеки механизъм за финансиране и всяко решение в тази област да се основава на прозрачни, обективни и подлежащи на проверка критерии. По-специално нетните разходи за универсалната услуга следва да се изчисляват, под ръководството на националния регулаторен орган, като разлика между нетните разходи на предприятие, осъществяващо дейност, свързана със задължения за предоставяне на универсална услуга, и неговите нетни разходи при осъществяване на дейност без задължения за предоставяне на такава услуга. При изчисляването следва да се отчитат всички значими елементи, включително нараснала търговска полза за предприятието, определено да предоставя универсална услуга, право на разумна печалба и стимули за постигане на ефективност на разходите.

20) Принципите на прозрачност, недискриминация и пропорционалност, съдържащи се в Директива 97/67/ЕО, трябва да продължат да се прилагат към всеки механизъм за финансиране и всяко решение в тази област трябва да се основава на прозрачни, обективни и подлежащи на проверка критерии. По-специално нетните разходи за универсалната услуга следва да се изчисляват, под ръководството на националния регулаторен орган, като разлика между нетните разходи на предприятие, осъществяващо дейност, свързана със задължения за предоставяне на универсална услуга, и неговите нетни разходи при осъществяване на дейност без задължения за предоставяне на такава услуга. При изчисляването следва да се отчитат всички значими елементи, включително нараснала търговска полза за предприятието, определено да предоставя универсална услуга, право на разумна печалба и стимули за постигане на ефективност на разходите. За да се избегне правната несигурност и да се осигури равнопоставеност, Комисията следва да даде подробни насоки относно изчисляването на нетните разходи за универсалната услуга.

Обосновка

There is a need for clearer and more uniform rules on the calculation of the cost of universal service.

Изменение 23

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 20 А (ново)

 

20а) Уместно е да се даде възможност за допълнителен преходен период от две години за премахване на съществуващите и специални права на държавите-членки, които са се включили в пощенската реформа по-късно, или на държави-членки с особено сложни топографски характеристики, особено тези с голям брой острови, при условие, че те известят Комисията за това.

 

Като се взема предвид този извънреден период, е уместно също така да се позволи, в ограничен период от време и за ограничен кръг услуги, на държави-членки, които са отворили напълно пазара си, да откажат на монополистите, действащи в друга държава-членка, разрешение за действие на тяхната собствена територия.

Изменение 24

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 21

21) Държавите-членки следва да бъдат оправомощени да използват разрешителни и индивидуални лицензи във всички обосновани и съобразени с целта случаи. Въпреки това, както се подчертава в третия доклад относно прилагането на Директива 97/67/ЕО, по-нататъшната хармонизация на условията, които могат да бъдат въведени, изглежда необходима за намаляване на необоснованите пречки пред предоставянето на услуги на вътрешния пазар. В този контекст държавите-членки могат, например, да разрешат на предприятията да направят избор между задължението да предоставят услуга и възможността да участват финансово в разходите по тази услуга, предоставяна от друго предприятие. Не следва обаче да се допуска налагането на едновременно изискване за участие в механизъм за поделяне на разходите и за предоставяне на универсална услуга или изпълнение на задължения във връзка с качеството, насочени към постигане на същата цел. Целесъобразно е също да се поясни, че някои от разпоредбите относно издаването на разрешителни и лицензи не следва да се прилагат за точно посочени доставчици на универсална услуга.

21) Държавите-членки следва да бъдат оправомощени да използват разрешителни и индивидуални лицензи във всички обосновани и съобразени с целта случаи. Въпреки това, както се подчертава в третия доклад относно прилагането на Директива 97/67/ЕО, по-нататъшната хармонизация на условията, които могат да бъдат въведени, изглежда необходима за намаляване на необоснованите пречки пред предоставянето на услуги на вътрешния пазар. В този контекст държавите-членки могат, например, да разрешат на предприятията, които предлагат услуги в рамките на универсалната услуга или услуги, считани за възможни заместители, да направят избор между задължението да предоставят услуга и възможността да участват финансово в разходите по тази услуга, предоставяна от друго предприятие. Не следва обаче да се допуска налагането на едновременно изискване за участие в механизъм за поделяне на разходите и за предоставяне на универсална услуга или изпълнение на задължения във връзка с качеството, насочени към постигане на същата цел. Целесъобразно е също да се поясни, че някои от разпоредбите относно издаването на разрешителни и лицензи не следва да се прилагат за точно посочени доставчици на универсална услуга.

Изменение 25

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 22

В среда, в която няколко пощенски предприятия предлагат услуги в сферата на универсалната услуга, е целесъобразно да се въведе изискване към държавите-членки за извършване на оценка на необходимостта от предоставяне на достъп до някои елементи на пощенската инфраструктура или до някои обичайно предоставяни услуги от доставчици на универсална услуга за други оператори, предоставящи подобни услуги, с цел насърчаване на ефективна конкуренция и/или защита на ползвателите и потребителите чрез гарантиране на цялостното качество на пощенските услуги. Предвид факта, че правното и пазарно положение на тези елементи е различно в отделните държави-членки, е целесъобразно да съществува изискване към държавите-членки да приемат информирано решение единствено относно необходимостта, обхвата и избора на регулаторен инструмент, включително по целесъобразност относно поделянето на разходите. Настоящата разпоредба не накърнява правото на държавите-членки да приемат мерки за гарантиране на достъп до публичната пощенска мрежа при условията на прозрачност и недискриминация.

В среда, в която няколко пощенски предприятия предлагат услуги в сферата на универсалната услуга, е целесъобразно да се въведе изискване към държавите-членки за извършване на оценка на необходимостта от предоставяне на достъп до някои елементи на пощенската инфраструктура или до някои обичайно предоставяни услуги от доставчици на универсална услуга за други оператори, предоставящи подобни услуги, с цел насърчаване на ефективна конкуренция и/или защита на ползвателите и потребителите чрез гарантиране на цялостното качество на пощенските услуги. При наличието на няколко доставчика на универсална услуга с регионални пощенски мрежи, държавите-членки следва също да извършат оценка на тяхната оперативна съвместимост и при необходимост да я гарантират с цел предотвратяване възникването на пречки за бързия транспорт на пощенски пратки. Предвид факта, че правното и пазарно положение на тези елементи е различно в отделните държави-членки, е целесъобразно да съществува изискване към държавите-членки да приемат информирано решение единствено относно необходимостта, обхвата и избора на регулаторен инструмент, включително по целесъобразност относно поделянето на разходите. Настоящата разпоредба не накърнява правото на държавите-членки да приемат мерки за гарантиране на достъп до публичната пощенска мрежа при условията на прозрачност и недискриминация.

Обосновка

Under Article 4 the Member States can designate different universal service providers for different parts of their territory. A lack of interoperability between these different postal networks could impede the reliable overall provision of universal services in the Member State concerned. So if the universal service providers operating the different networks do not agree on interoperability the Member States will have to take the necessary measures.

Изменение 26

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 23

Предвид значението на пощенските услуги за незрящите и лицата с намалено зрение, е целесъобразно да се потвърди, че процесът на отваряне на пазара не следва да води до намаляване на предоставянето на някои безплатни услуги за незрящи и лица с намалено зрение, въведени от държавите-членки в съответствие с приложимите международни задължения.

Предвид значението на пощенските услуги за незрящите и лицата с намалено зрение, е целесъобразно да се потврърди, че на конкурентен и либерализиран пазар следва да има задължение за предостявянето на безплатни услуги за незрящи и лица с намалено зрение, въведени от държавите-членки.

Обосновка

There is a need for clear wording in the revised Directive in order to achieve the continuing provision of the free postal service for blind and partially sighted people in a fully operational single postal market. Such a service should be a cross-border obligation and should not be left solely to Member States.

Изменение 27

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 24

(24) В една напълно конкурентна среда е от значение както за финансовото равновесие на универсалната услуга, така и за ограничаване на нарушенията на пазара, отклоненията от принципа, съгласно който цените отразяват обичайните търговски условия и себестойност, да се допускат единствено с цел защита на обществените интереси. Тази цел се постига като на държавите-членки продължава да се разрешава да поддържат единни тарифи за единични пратки - услугата, която най-често се използва от потребителите, както и от малките и средните предприятия. Отделните държави-членки могат също да поддържат единни тарифи за някои други пощенски пратки по причини, свързани с обществените интереси, като достъп до култура, регионално и социално сближаване.

В една силно конкурентна среда е от значение да се гарантира, че доставчиците на универсална услуга разполагат с възможността за гъвкав подход при определянето на цените, което е необходимо, за да се осигури финансовата жизнеспособност на предоставянето на универсална услуга. Ето защо е от значение да се гарантира, че държавите-членки налагат тарифи, които са в отклонение от принципа, съгласно който цените отразяват обичайното търговско търсене и себестойност, единствено в ограничен брой случаи. Тази цел се постига като на държавите-членки продължава да се разрешава да поддържат единни тарифи за единични пратки - услугата, която най-често се използва от потребителите, както и от малките и средните предприятия. Отделните държави-членки могат също да поддържат единни тарифи за някои други пощенски пратки по причини, свързани с обществените интереси, като достъп до култура, регионално и социално сближаване. Принципът за определяне на цените в зависимост от себестойността следва да не възпрепятства операторите, отговарящи за предоставянето на универсална услуга, да прилагат единни тарифи за услугите, доставяни в рамките на тази универсална услуга.

Обосновка

It is appropriate to assess the implications for the tariff principles applicable to universal service providers of choosing progressive liberalisation because that liberalisation must be accompanied by the necessary flexibility for the universal service provider to cope with competition and by the possibility to adjust to market demand.

Изменение 28

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 24 А (ново)

 

(24а) За предоставянето на услуги за предприятията, експедиторите на едро и посредниците, които обединяват пощенските пратки на различни клиенти е необходимо доставчиците на универсална услуга да се ползват от по-гъвкави тарифни условия.

Обосновка

It is necessary to adapt the tariff principles applicable to universal service provider to the growing liberalisation of the sector.

This progressive liberalisation must go hand in hand with the necessary tariff flexibility for the universal service provider, so that it can face competition and adapt to market needs.

Изменение 29

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 25

(25) С оглед на националните особености, отчетени при регулирането на условията, в които настоящият доставчик на универсална услуга трябва да действа в една напълно конкурентна среда, е целесъобразно на държавите-членки да се предостави свободата да определят най-добрите начини за наблюдение на кръстосаното субсидиране.

заличава се

Обосновка

Leaving the Member States to monitor cross-subsidies would run counter to the system introduced by the EC Treaty, which makes this task a Commission responsibility.

Изменение 30

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 26

(26) С оглед на прехода към напълно конкурентен пазар е целесъобразно да се запази изискването към държавите-членки да оставят в сила задължението за водене на отделно и прозрачно счетоводство по отношение на доставчиците на универсални услуги с необходимите корекции. Посоченото задължение следва да се изразява в предоставяне на необходимата информация на националните регулаторни органи, органи по защита на конкуренцията и Комисията за приемане на решения, свързани с универсалните услуги, и контролиране на наличието на справедливи пазарни условия до реализирането на ефективна конкуренция. Сътрудничеството между националните регулаторни органи за продължаващото разработване на критерии и насоки в тази област следва да допринася за хармонизираното прилагане на тези правила.

(26) С оглед на прехода към напълно конкурентен пазар, както и за да се гарантира, че кръстосаното субсидиране от универсалните към неуниверсалните услуги, няма обратен ефект върху конкурентното преимущество в областта на последните, е целесъобразно да се запази изискването към държавите-членки да оставят в сила задължението за водене на отделно и прозрачно счетоводство по отношение на доставчиците на универсални услуги с необходимите корекции. Посоченото задължение следва да се изразява в предоставяне на необходимата информация на националните регулаторни органи, органи по защита на конкуренцията и Комисията за приемане на решения, свързани с универсалните услуги, и контролиране на наличието на справедливи пазарни условия до реализирането на ефективна конкуренция. Сътрудничеството между националните регулаторни органи за продължаващото разработване на критерии и насоки в тази област следва да допринася за хармонизираното прилагане на тези правила.

Обосновка

Keeping separate accounts (Article 14) is vitally important for operation of the market. There is a need to ensure that shared costs are properly allocated to their causes, so that the costs of services that do not belong to the universal service are not artificially held down by undue allocation to the universal service.

Изменение 31

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 27

(27) Съгласно съществуващите правила в други сектори на услугите и с цел увеличаване на закрилата на потребителите е целесъобразно да не се ограничава приложното поле на минималните стандарти относно процедурите за рекламация само до доставчиците на универсални услуги. С оглед увеличаване на ефективността на процедурите за разглеждане на рекламации е целесъобразно в директивата да се насърчи използването на извънсъдебни споразумения, определени в Препоръка 98/257/EО на Комисията от 30 март 1998 г. относно принципите, прилагани за органите, отговорни за извънсъдебното уреждане на потребителски спорове и Препоръката на Комисията от 4 април 2001 г. относно принципите, прилагани за органите, участващи в извънсъдебното уреждане по взаимно съгласие на потребителски спорове. Интересите на потребителите биха били допълнително защитени чрез увеличената оперативна съвместимост между операторите в резултата от достъпа до някои елементи на инфраструктурата и услугите, както и от изискването за сътрудничество между националните регулаторни органи и органите за защита на потребителите.

Съгласно съществуващите правила в други сектори на услугите и с цел увеличаване на закрилата на потребителите е целесъобразно да не се ограничава приложното поле на минималните стандарти относно процедурите за рекламация само до доставчиците на универсални услуги. С оглед увеличаване на ефективността на процедурите за разглеждане на рекламации е целесъобразно в директивата да се насърчи използването на извънсъдебни споразумения, определени в Препоръка 98/257/EО на Комисията от 30 март 1998 г. относно принципите, прилагани за органите, отговорни за извънсъдебното уреждане на потребителски спорове и Препоръката на Комисията от 4 април 2001 г. относно принципите, прилагани за органите, участващи в извънсъдебното уреждане по взаимно съгласие на потребителски спорове. Интересите на потребителите биха били допълнително защитени чрез увеличената оперативна съвместимост между операторите в резултата от достъпа до някои елементи на инфраструктурата и услугите, както и от изискването за сътрудничество между националните регулаторни органи и органите за защита на потребителите. Държавите-членки следва да въведат система за възстановяване на разходите и/или обезщетяване с цел защита на интересите на ползвателите в случай на кражба или загубване или повреда на пощенски пратки.

Обосновка

In a multi-operator environment, the operators could blame each other in case of loss or late delivery. Consumers satisfaction should be guaranteed in case of theft, loss or damage of post items by introducing a system and/or compensation for all postal items.

In a multi-operator environment, the operators could blame each other in case of loss of late delivery. The best way nevertheless to guarantee consumers satisfaction in the postal sector is to protect consumers’ interests in case of theft, loss or damage of post items. The best protection is to introduce a system of reimbursement and/or compensation for all postal items.

Изменение 32

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 28 А (ново)

(28а) Комитетът, който отговаря за прилагането на Директива 97/67/ЕО следва да следи за развитието на мерките, взети от държавите-членки за гарантиране на универсалната услуга и в частност за настоящето и предполагаемо въздействие на тези мерки върху социалното и териториалното сближаване. Като се има предвид особеното значение, което отварянето на пазара на пощенските услуги има за регионалното сближаване, настоящият комитет следва да включва представители не само на държавите-членки, а също и на местните и регионалните органи на властта от всяка държава-членка.

Обосновка

The committee has important implementing powers in respect of the directive, and these have an impact on territorial cohesion. Accordingly it is important for authorities at regional and local level from each Member State to be represented on the committee in order to be involved in its implementation and to assess its impact on social and territorial cohesion.

Изменение 33

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 32

(32) При изпълнение на задачите им съгласно настоящата директива националните регулаторни органи следва при необходимост да съгласуват действията си с регулаторните органи на други държави-членки и с Комисията. Това би насърчило развитието на вътрешния пазар на пощенските услуги и би спомогнало за постигане на последователно прилагане във всички държави-членки на установените в настоящата директива разпоредби, по-специално в области, в които националното законодателство по прилагане на общностното законодателство предоставя на националните регулаторни органи значителна оперативна самостоятелност в прилагането на съответните правила. Сътрудничеството може, наред с другото, да се осъществи в рамките на създадения с Директива 97/67/EО Комитет или група, включваща европейски регулаторни органи. Държавите-членки следва да решат кои органи са национални регулаторни органи по смисъла на настоящата директива.

(32) При изпълнение на задачите им съгласно настоящата директива националните регулаторни органи следва да съгласуват действията си с регулаторните органи на други държави-членки и с Комисията. Това би насърчило развитието на вътрешния пазар на пощенските услуги и би спомогнало за постигане на последователно прилагане във всички държави-членки на установените в настоящата директива разпоредби, по-специално в области, в които националното законодателство по прилагане на общностното законодателство предоставя на националните регулаторни органи значителна оперативна самостоятелност в прилагането на съответните правила. Сътрудничеството може, наред с другото, да се осъществи в рамките на създадения с Директива 97/67/EО Комитет или група, включваща европейски регулаторни органи. Държавите-членки следва да решат кои органи са национални регулаторни органи по смисъла на настоящата директива.

Обосновка

It is one of Commission's objectives to strengthen the national regulatory authorities, so they should work together as much as possible.

Изменение 34

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 34 A (ново)

 

34а) Уместно е да се посочи, че Комисията трябва да предостави на държавите-членки помощ по отношение на различните аспекти на прилагането на настоящата Директива.

Изменение 35

СЪОБРАЖЕНИЕ 34 Б (ново)

 

34б) Настоящата директива не засяга нито условията на работа, в т. ч. максималната продължителност на работата и минималната продължителност на почивките, минималния платен годишен отпуск, минималните ставки на заплащане, както и здравето, безопасността и хигиената на работното място, които държавите-членки прилагат в съответствие с общностното законодателство, нито отношенията между социалните партньори, в т. ч. правото на договаряне и сключване на колективни споразумения, правото на стачка и стачен протест в съответствие с националното законодателство и установените, съобразени с общностното законодателство практики, нито се отнася до услугите, предоставени от агенции за временна заетост. По целесъобразност, държавите-членки могат да посочат условията на работа в своите процедури за издаване на разрешителни.

Изменение 36

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 2, БУКВА Б)

Член 2, точка 8 (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

б) точка 8 се заличава

заличава се

Обосновка

It appears (e.g. out of the annex of the PWC study) that in certain Member States, the complete liberalisation on the 1 January 2009 would be too early. These Member States should be enabled to grant a reserved area at least until 31 December 2011. In order to ensure fair market conditions during this transitional period, cross-subsidisation shall be forbidden and the principle of reciprocity made possible. See our amendment to article 7.

The definition of direct mail is still useful if the reserved area is maintained.

In addition, maintaining the definition of direct mail reflects thoroughly the acknowledgment of the specificities of this particular postal market. Indeed, direct mail constitutes a distinct mail market, with its particular characteristics, actors and price flexibility.

The definition must remain, as the reserved area is to be maintained and amendment to Article 7 keeps the reference and the conditions applicable to direct mail.

The definition of direct mail is still needed if a reserved area is maintained. Furthermore, retaining a definition of direct mail is a strong signal of recognition for the specific characteristics of this market in the postal sector.

A definition of direct mail is still necessary in the revised Postal Directive.

Amendment of coherence: the definition of direct mail should not be deleted if direct mail may continue to be reserved as suggested in article 7.

It makes no sense to delete the definition of 'direct mail', since it might imply that such mail was not a postal item. It may be supposed that the deletion of the definition is a result of the abolition of the reserved area, since the 'direct mail' service was linked to the definition of this area. This situation prompts concerns that this group of services may be excluded from the scope of the directive. Adding the definition of 'direct mail' to that of 'postal item' and restoring it to point 8 would eliminate any such doubts.

Изменение 37

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 2, БУКВА Б A) (нова)

Член 2, точка 19, параграф 1 (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

 

ба) Точка 19, параграф 1 се заменя със следния текст:

 

”19) съществени изисквания: общи основания от неикономически характер, под въздействие на които държава-членка може да въведе условия за доставката на пощенски услуги. Такива основания са поверителността на кореспонденцията, сигурността на мрежата във връзка с превоза на опасни товари и зачитането на условията на работа и социално-осигурителните схеми, предвидени в закон, регламент или административна разпоредба и/или колективно споразумение, договорено между националните партньори, и по целесъобразност, защитата на данните и на околната среда, регионалното планиране и осигуряването на достойни условия на труд.”

Изменение 38

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 2, БУКВА В)

Член 2, точка 20 (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

в) добавя се следната точка:

заличава се

”20. услуги, предоставяни по тарифа за единични пратки: пощенски услуги, за които тарифата е определена в общите условия за доставчиците на универсална услуга за пренасяне на единични пощенски пратки.“

 

Обосновка

If the previous amendment is to be adopted, this Commission text becomes redundant.

Изменение 39

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 6

Член 6, параграф 1 (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

Държавите-членки вземат мерки, за да гарантират, че на ползвателите и предприятията, предоставящи пощенски услуги, редовно се предоставя достатъчно подробна и актуализирана информация относно характеристиките на предлаганите универсални услуги, в частност относно общите условия на достъп до тази услуга, както и цените и нивото на стандартите за качество. Тази информация се публикува по подходящ начин.

Държавите-членки вземат мерки, за да гарантират, че на ползвателите и предприятията, предоставящи пощенски услуги, редовно се предоставя от доставчика(ците) на универсалната услуга достатъчно подробна и актуализирана информация относно характеристиките на предлаганите универсални услуги, в частност относно общите условия на достъп до тази услуга, както и цените и нивото на стандартите за качество. Тази информация се публикува по подходящ начин.

Обосновка

For clarification. Universal service provider(s) should give clear information on the universal service(s) they provide.

If the reserved area is to be maintained, reference in this paragraph to the universal service provider(s) must remain.

Изменение 40

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 7

Глава 3, заглавие (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

Финансиране на универсални услуги“

Гарантиране на финансирането на универсални услуги“

Обосновка

Financing of universal service should be guaranteed at all times.

Изменение 41

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 8

Член 7 (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

1. Считано от 1 януари 2009 г., държавите-членки не предоставят, нито запазват в сила изключителни или специални права за въвеждането и предоставянето на пощенски услуги. Държавите-членки могат да финансират предоставянето на универсални услуги чрез едно или повече от средствата, предвидени в параграфи 2, 3 и 4, или чрез каквито и да е други средства, съвместими с Договора за ЕО.

1. Считано от 31 декември 2010 г., държавите-членки не предоставят, нито запазват в сила изключителни или специални права за въвеждането и предоставянето на пощенски услуги. Държавите-членки могат да финансират предоставянето на универсални услуги чрез едно или повече от средствата, предвидени в параграфи 2, 3 и 4, или чрез каквито и да е други средства, съвместими с Договора за ЕО.

2. Държавите-членки могат да гарантират предоставянето на универсални услуги, като ги възлагат в съответствие с приложимите правила за обществените поръчки.

2. Държавите-членки могат да гарантират предоставянето на универсални услуги, като ги възлагат в съответствие с приложимите правила и норми за обществените поръчки, в т. ч. и възможността за пряко договаряне и сключване на договори за услуги с доставчиците на услуги.

3. Когато държава-членка установи, че задълженията за универсална услуга, предвидени в настоящата директива, водят до нетни разходи и представляват несправедлива финансова тежест за доставчика(ците) на универсалната услуга, тя може:

3. Когато държава-членка установи, че задълженията за универсална услуга, предвидени в настоящата директива, водят до нетни разходи и представляват несправедлива финансова тежест за доставчика(ците) на универсалната услуга, тя прилага един от механизмите, описани подробно в нейния националния план, предоставен на Комисията не по-късно от 1 януари 2010 г. и съставляващ част от доклада на Комисията до Европейския парламент и Съвета.

 

Националните планове могат:

а) да въведе механизъм за обезщететяване на засегнатото(ите) предприятие(я) с публични средства;

а) да въведат механизъм за обезщететяване на засегнатото(ите) предприятие(я) с публични средства;

б) да разпредели нетните разходи по задълженията за универсална услуга между доставчиците на услуги и/или ползвателите.

б) да разпределят нетните разходи по задълженията за универсална услуга между доставчиците на услуги и/или ползвателите.

4. Когато нетните разходи се разпределят съгласно параграф 3, буква б), държавите-членки могат да създадат компенсационен фонд, който може да се финансира с такси от доставчиците на услуги и/или ползвателите и се управлява за тази цел от орган, независим от бенефициента(ите). Държавите-членки могат да обвържат предоставянето на разрешителни за доставчици на услуги съгласно член 9, параграф 2 със задължение за финансова вноска в посочения фонд или с изпълнение на задължения за универсална услуга. Само услугите, посочени в член 3, могат да бъдат финансирани по този начин.

4. Когато нетните разходи се разпределят съгласно параграф 3, буква б), държавите-членки могат да създадат компенсационен фонд, който може да се финансира с такси от доставчиците на услуги и/или ползвателите и се управлява за тази цел от орган, независим от бенефициента(ите). Държавите-членки могат да обвържат предоставянето на разрешителни за доставчици на услуги съгласно член 9, параграф 2 със задължение за финансова вноска в посочения фонд или с изпълнение на задължения за универсална услуга. Само услугите, посочени в член 3, могат да бъдат финансирани по този начин.

5. Държавите-членки трябва да гарантират, че принципите за прозрачност, недискриминация и пропорционалност са спазвани при създаването на компенсационния фонд и при определянето на размера на финансовите вноски по параграфи 3 и 4. Взетите съгласно параграфи 3 и 4 решения се основават на обективни и проверими критерии и се огласяват публично.“

5. Държавите-членки трябва да гарантират, че принципите за прозрачност, недискриминация и пропорционалност са спазвани при създаването на компенсационния фонд и при определянето на размера на финансовите вноски по параграфи 3 и 4. Взетите съгласно параграфи 3 и 4 решения се основават на обективни и проверими критерии и се огласяват публично.“

Изменение 42

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 8 A (нова)

Член 7 a (нов) (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

 

(8а) Добавя се член 7а, както следва:

 

Член 7а

 

До степента, необходима, за да се гарантира поддържането на универсалната услуга държавите-членки, които са се присъединили към ЕС след влизането в сила на Директива 2002/39/ЕО или държави-членки с особено тежки климатични и релефни условия, по-специално държави с множество острови, могат да продължат да резервират услуги за доставчика(ците) на универсална услуга до 31 декември 2012 г. при следните ограничения и условия:

 

(а) Тези услуги се ограничават до събирането, сортирането, пренасянето и доставката на вътрешни и входящи трангранични кореспондентски пратки, независимо дали се касае за ускорена доставка или не, в рамките на двете долупосочени ограничения за тегло и цена. Ограничението за тегло е 50 грама. Това ограничение за тегло не се прилага в случай, че цената е равна или надвишава два и половина пъти обществената тарифа, прилагана за кореспондентска пратка от първото теглово стъпало на най-бързата категория.

 

(б) Държавите-членки, които възнамеряват да използват тази изключителна възможност за преход, трябва да уведомят Комисията за това най-късно три месеца преди датата на прилагане на настоящата директива.

 

(в) Държави-членки, които премахват резервирания си сектор след влизането в сила на настоящата директива и преди 31 Декември 2012 г., могат по време на преходния период да откажат да издадат разрешителното, предвидено в член 9, параграф 2 за услуги в рамките на отменения резервиран сектор на пощенски оператори, доставящи услуги в обхвата на универсалната услуга (както и компании, контролирани от тях), на които е предоставен резервиран сектор в друга държава-членка.

Изменение 43

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 8 Б (нова)

Член 8 (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

 

(8б) Член 8 от Директива 97/67/ЕО се замества със следния текст:

 

Разпоредбите на член 7 не засягат правото на държавите-членки да:

 

- включват специални разпоредби в националното си законодателство, приложимо за доставчиците на универсална услуга съгласно обективни, пропорционални и недискриминационни критерии, необходими за изпълнението на универсалната услуга.

 

- организират, в съответствие с националното си законодателство, поставянето на пощенски кутии на обществени пътища, издаването на пощенски марки и услугите за препоръчана поща, използвана по време на съдебни и административни процедури, необходими за предоставянето на универсална услуга.

Обосновка

Member States should be allowed to continue to make special arrangements for universal service providers, if these are needed to allow a universal service to be operated. There are special provisions in various national legislations for universal service providers, for example in relation to transport, which are justified by the operational needs of the universal service.

This will enable Member States to introduce special rights for universal service providers so as to ensure the effective provision of universal service. Universal service providers in various sectors enjoy various special legal rights (e.g. as regards transport provisions, the possibility of operating vehicles on a Sunday) facilitating the provision of universal service in the Member States.

The amendment is worded in such a way as to ensure that these provisions will not be classed as special rights within the meaning of the Commission's 1998 communication on the postal sector.

Member States should be allowed to continue to make special arrangements for universal service providers, if these are needed to allow a universal service to be operated.

It is appropriate to allow Member States to enact specific provisions in favour of universal service providers needed for the effective provision of the universal service. Universal service providers benefit in different national legislations from certain specific provisions (that is, concerning transport legislation, exceptions to rules such as trucks not allowed to roll on Sundays) allowing them to provide the universal service in the terms specified by their Member State.

Member States should be allowed to continue to make special arrangements for universal service providers, if these are needed to allow a universal service to be operated. There are special provisions in various national legislations for universal service providers, for example in relation to transport, which are justified by the operational needs of the universal service.

It is appropriate to allow Member States to enact specific provisions in favour of universal service providers, needed for the effective provision of the universal service. Universal service providers benefit in different national legislations from certain specific provisions (for instance concerning transport legislation, exceptions to rules such as trucks not allowed to roll on Sundays) allowing them to provide the universal service in the terms specified by their member state.

Изменение 44

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 10

Член 9 (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

1. Що се отнася до услугите, които са извън обхвата на универсалната услуга, както е определена в член 3, държавите-членки могат да въведат „общи разрешителни“, доколкото това е необходимо, за да се гарантира спазването на основните изисквания.

1. Що се отнася до услугите, които са извън обхвата на универсалната услуга, както е определена в член 3, държавите-членки могат да въведат „общи разрешителни“, доколкото това е необходимо, за да се гарантира спазването на основните изисквания.

2. Що се отнася до услугите, които попадат в обхвата на универсалната услуга, както е определена в член 3, държавите-членки могат да въведат процедури за издаване на разрешителни, включително индивидуални лицензи, доколкото това е необходимо, за да се гарантира спазването на основните изисквания и да се осигури универсалната услуга.

2. Що се отнася до услугите, които попадат в обхвата на универсалната услуга, както е определена в член 3 и услуги, които биха могли да ги заместват, държавите-членки могат да въведат процедури за издаване на разрешителни, включително индивидуални лицензи, доколкото това е необходимо, за да се гарантира спазването на основните изисквания и да се осигури универсалната услуга.

Издаването на разрешителни може:

3. Винаги когато държави-членки определят едно или повече предприятие(я) за доставчик(ци) на универсална услуга съгласно член 4, параграф 2 издаването на разрешителни на тези предприятия може:

- по целесъобразност да бъде подчинено на задълженията за универсална услуга,

- по целесъобразност да бъде подчинено на задълженията за универсална услуга,

- при необходимост да наложи изисквания относно качеството, предоставяне и резултати на съответните услуги,

-при необходимост да наложи изисквания относно качеството, предоставяне и резултати на съответните услуги, дори и когато те се припокриват в известна степен със задълженията за универсалната услуга

- по целесъобразност да е предмет на задължение за финансова вноска в механизма за разпределяне на нетните разходи, посочен в член 7.

- по целесъобразност да е предмет на задължение за финансова вноска в механизма за разпределяне на нетните разходи, посочен в член 7, ако предоставянето на универсална услуга води до нетни разходи за доставчика или доставчиците на универсална услуга, определени в съответствие с член 4.

 

4. Издаването на разрешителни за доставчици на услуга, различни от определените доставчици на универсална услуга, може, при целесъобразност, да подлежи на задължение за финансова вноска в механизма за разпределяне на нетните разходи, посочен в член 7.

 

Държавите-членки може да позволят на тези предприятия да избират между задължението за участие в механизма за разпределяне или спазването на задълженията за универсална услуга.

Освен в случай на предприятия, които са били определени за доставчици на универсална услуга в съответствие с член 4, разрешителните не могат:

Освен в случай на предприятия, които са били определени за доставчици на универсална услуга в съответствие с член 4, разрешителните не могат:

- да са ограничени по брой,

- да са ограничени по брой,

- да налагат на доставчик на услуги, за еднакви изисквания за качество, достъпност и резултати, задължения за универсална услуга и същевременно - финансови вноски в механизъм за разпределяне на нетните разходи,

 

- да възпроизвеждат условия, които са приложими към предприятия по силата на друго, неспецифично за отрасъла национално законодателство,

 

- да налагат технически или оперативни условия, различни от необходимите за изпълнение на задълженията по настоящата директива.

- да налагат технически или оперативни условия, различни от необходимите за изпълнение на задълженията по настоящата директива.

3. Процедурите, задълженията и изискванията, упоменати в параграфи 1 и 2, са прозрачни, достъпни, недискриминационни, пропорционални, точни и недвусмислени, предварително оповестени и основани върху обективни критерии. Държавите-членки гарантират, че причините за отказ на разрешително в цялост или отчасти се представят пред заявителя, и трябва да установят процедура на обжалване.“

 

Изменение 45

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 13

Член 11 a (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

Когато е необходимо да се защити интересът на ползвателите и/или да се насърчи ефективната конкуренция, и с оглед на националните условия, държавите-членки гарантират, че прозрачни и недискриминационни условия за достъп са на разположение за следните елементи от пощенската инфраструктура или услугите: система на пощенските кодове, база данни от адреси, пощенски кутии в пощенските клонове, пощенски кутии за събиране и доставка, информация относно промяна на адреса, услуга на пренасочване, услуга за връщане на пратката на подателя.“

Когато е необходимо да се защити интересът на ползвателите и/или да се насърчи честната и ефективната конкуренция, и с оглед на националните условия, държавите-членки гарантират, че прозрачни и недискриминационни условия за достъп са на разположение за отделните елементи от пощенската инфраструктура или услугите"

Обосновка

Fermi restando i principi generali di trasparenza e non discriminazione sull'accesso alla rete postale, già previsti dalla normativa vigente, non è affatto necessaria una regolamentazione dell'accesso alla rete postale. Alcuni Stati membri hanno già definito criteri di accesso alla rete, sulla base delle esigenze e delle caratteristiche dei propri mercati postali nazionali. La regolamentazione dell'accesso non può, infatti, essere definita in maniera generalizzata, ma dipende dalla situazione di ogni singolo mercato nazionale.

Inoltre, qualsiasi regolamentazione dell'accesso alla rete postale dovrebbe essere proporzionata agli altri limiti ed obblighi imposti al fornitore del servizio universale (come ad esempio la rimozione dell’area riservata).

Al limite, potrebbe essere consentito l’accesso a condizioni di trasparenza e non discriminazione ad alcuni servizi forniti dall’operatore postale, come il sistema di codice di avviamento postale.

Изменение46

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 13 A (нова)

Член 11 б (нов) (Директива 97/67/EО)

 

(13a) Добавя се следният член 11б:

 

'Член11б

Настоящата директива не накърнява съответните национални законови разпоредби относно защитата на личните данни, и не накърнява правата на държавите-членки да приемат мерки за гарантиране на достъп, при необходимост, на доставчици на универсална услуга или други елементи от пощенската инфраструктура до пощенската мрежа в условия на прозрачност и отсъствие на дискриминация.'

Обосновка

Provisions of this directive should not prejudice relevant national provisions on the protection of personal data, as an address database, for example, is subject of personal data protection legislation.

Изменение 47

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 14, БУКВА (A)
Член 12, първо тире (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

- цените трябва да бъдат достъпни и трябва да бъдат такива, че всички ползватели да имат достъп до предлаганите услуги. Държавите-членки може да поддържат или въвеждат безплатни пощенски услуги за незрящи и слабовиждащи лица

- цените трябва да бъдат достъпни и трябва да бъдат такива, че всички ползватели, независимо от географското си местоположение и в светлината на специфични национални условия, да имат достъп до предлаганите услуги. Държавите-членки публикуват правилата и критериите за гарантиране на достъпност на национално равнище. Националните регулаторни органи извършват контрол върху всякакви промени в цените и редовно публикуват доклади. Държавите-членки гарантират наличието безплатни пощенски услуги, които могат да се използват от

незрящи и слабовиждащи лица.

Обосновка

Together with physical and geographical access, the price of the universal postal services is key in guaranteeing access to these services. Affordability needs to be therefore guaranteed through the monitoring and intervention of the National regulatory authorities in order for postal services to continue being accessible in the future.

Изменение 48

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 14, БЕКВА (Б)

Член 12, второ тире (Директива 97/67/EО)

- цените трябва да бъдат обвързани с разходите и да стимулират ефикасността; когато е необходимо, от съображения за обществения интерес държавите-членки могат да вземат решение за прилагане на единна тарифа на цялата национална територия и/или на териториите на други държави-членки, по отношение на услуги, предоставяни по тарифа за единични пратки и по отношение на други пратки.

- когато е необходимо, от съображения за обществения интерес държавите-членки могат да вземат решение за прилагане на единна тарифа на цялата национална територия и/или на териториите на други държави-членки, единствено по отношение на услуги, предоставяни по тарифа за единични пратки .

Изменение 49

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА14, БУКВА (В)

Член 12, пето тире, последно изречение (Директива 97/67/EО)

„Всички подобни тарифи се предоставят и на клиенти, които изпращат пратки при подобни условия,“.

„Всички подобни тарифи се предоставят и на всякакви други клиенти, по-специално отделни клиенти и МСП, които изпращат пратки при подобни условия,“.

Обосновка

The most vulnerable customers should be highlighted.

Изменение 50

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 15

Член 14, параграф 2 (Директива 97/67/EО)

2. Доставчиците на универсалната услуга, в рамките на своите системи за вътрешно счетоводство, водят отделни сметки с цел ясно разграничение между услугите и продуктите, които получават финансово обезщетение за нетните разходи за универсалната услуга или допринасят за такова обезщетение, и услугите и продуктите, за които това не се отнася.Отделното счетоводно отчитане позволява на държавите-членки да изчисляват нетните разходи за универсалната услуга.Такива системи за вътрешно счетоводство се основават на принципите на аналитичното счетоводство, които се прилагат последователно и могат да бъдат обективно обосновани.

2. Доставчиците на универсалната услуга, в рамките на своите системи за вътрешно счетоводство, водят отделни сметки с цел ясно разграничение между услугите и продуктите, които са част от универсалната услуга и получават финансово обезщетение за нетните разходи за универсалната услуга или допринасят за такова обезщетение от една страна, и, от друга, услугите и продуктите, за които това не са. Такива системи за вътрешно счетоводство се основават на принципите на аналитичното счетоводство, които се прилагат последователно и могат да бъдат обективно обосновани.

Обосновка

Clarifying amendment.

Изменение51

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 15

Член 14, параграф 7 (Директива 97/67/EО)

7. При поискване се предоставя подробна счетоводна информация, произтичаща от тези системи, на националния регулаторен орган и на Комисията в условията на поверителност.

7. При поискване се предоставя подробна счетоводна информация, произтичаща от тези системи, на националния регулаторен орган и на Комисията в условията на поверителност, в съответствие с член 22a.

Обосновка

The amendment clarifies the conditions under which universal service providers should provide information to the regulatory authority.

Изменение 52

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 15

Член 14, параграф 8 (Директива 97/67/EО)

8. Когато дадена държава-членка не е установила механизъм за финансиране за предоставяне на универсална услуга, както го допуска член 7, параграф 4 и ако националният регулаторен орган е убеден, че никой от доставчиците на универсална услуга, определени в тази държава-членка, не получава държавна помощ под прикрита или друга форма и че пазарната конкуренция е напълно действаща, националният регулаторен орган може да реши изискванията на настоящия член да не се прилагат. Националният регулаторен орган информира предварително Комисията за такива решения.

8. Когато дадена държава-членка не е установила механизъм за финансиране за предоставяне на универсална услуга, както го допуска член 7, параграф 4 и ако националният регулаторен орган е убеден, че никой от доставчиците на универсална услуга, определени в тази държава-членка, не получава държавна помощ под прикрита или друга форма и че пазарната конкуренция е напълно действаща, националният регулаторен орган може да реши изискванията на настоящия член да не се прилагат. Независимо от това, настоящият член се прилага за настоящите доставчици на универсална услуга докато не бъдат определени други доставчици на универсални услуги. Националният регулаторен орган информира предварително Комисията за такива решения.

Обосновка

Article 14 is of central importance for the allocation of costs and thus ultimately for effective competition. Even if no other universal service provider has been designated, the Article 14 rules must be complied with, to ensure that cost allocation does not create barriers to market access.

Изменение 53

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 16

Член 19, параграф 1 (Директива 97/67/EО)

Държавите-членки следят за прилагането на прозрачни, опростени и не скъпо струващи процедури от предприятия, предоставящи пощенски услуги, за обработка на рекламациите на ползвателите, по-конкретно в случаите на загубване, кражба, повреда или неспазване на стандартите за качество на услугата (включително процедури за установяване на отговорността в случаи, засягащи повече от един оператор).

Държавите-членки следят за прилагането на прозрачни, опростени и не скъпо струващи процедури от всички предприятия, предоставящи пощенски услуги, за обработка на рекламациите на ползвателите, по-конкретно в случаите на загубване, кражба, повреда или неспазване на стандартите за качество на услугата (включително процедури за установяване на отговорността в случаи, засягащи повече от един оператор).

Обосновка

For clarification.

Изменение 54

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 16

Член 19, параграф 2 (Директива 97/67/EО)

Държавите-членки приемат мерки, за да гарантират, че процедурите, упоменати в алинея първа, позволяват справедливо и бързо уреждане на споровете, като предвидят, когато има основания за това, система за възстановяване на разходите и/или обезщетяване.

Държавите-членки приемат мерки, за да гарантират, че процедурите, упоменати в алинея първа, позволяват справедливо и бързо уреждане на споровете, като предвидят система за възстановяване на разходите и/или обезщетяване.

Обосновка

In order to be sure that consumers are compensated for loss and damage of postal items, a reimbursement scheme is to be provided.

Изменение 55

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 20

Член 22a (Директива 97/67/EО)

Държавите-членки гарантират, че предприятията, предоставящи пощенски услуги, предоставят цялата информация, включително финансова информация и информация относно предоставянето на универсалната услуга, необходима за следните цели:

Държавите-членки гарантират, че доставчиците на пощенски услуги предоставят цялата информация на националния регулаторен орган, включително финансова информация и информация относно предоставянето на универсалната услуга, а именно за следните цели:

a) за да могат националните регулаторни органи да гарантират изпълнението на разпоредбите на настоящата директива или на решенията, взети в съответствие с нея;

a) за да могат националните регулаторни органи да гарантират изпълнението на разпоредбите на настоящата директива или на решенията, взети в съответствие с нея;

б) за ясно определени статистически цели.

 

2. При поискване предприятията предоставят тази информация своевременно, съблюдавайки сроковете и степента на подробност на данните, изисквани от националния регулаторен орган.Информацията, изисквана от националния регулаторен орган, съответства на потребностите му във връзка с изпълнението на неговите задачи.Националният регулаторен орган мотивира своята молба за информация´´

2. При поискване и при необходимост при условия на поверителност всички предприятия предоставят тази информация своевременно, съблюдавайки сроковете и степента на подробност на данните, изисквани от националния регулаторен орган.Информацията, изисквана от националния регулаторен орган, съответства на потребностите му във връзка с изпълнението на неговите задачи и тя не се използва за цели, различни от тези, за които е била изискана. Националният регулаторен орган мотивира своята молба за информация.

Обосновка

The text of the directive should state more clearly on who will have to provide a certain information and to whom.

Изменение 56

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 21

Член 23 (Директива 97/67/EО)

На всеки три години, като първият път е не по-късно от 31 декември 2011 г., Комисията представя доклад на Европейския парламент и на Съвета относно прилагането на настоящата директива, включително съответната информация за развитието в сектора, по-конкретно що се отнася до икономическите и социални аспекти, заетостта и технологичните аспекти, както и качеството на услугата. Докладът се придружава, когато е уместно, от предложения до Европейския парламент и Съвета.

На всеки пет години, като първият път е не по-късно от 31 декември 2011 г., Комисията представя доклад на Европейския парламент и на Съвета относно прилагането на настоящата директива, включително съответната информация за развитието в сектора, по-конкретно що се отнася до икономическите и социални аспекти, заетостта и технологичните аспекти, както и качеството на услугата. Докладът се придружава, когато е уместно, от предложения до Европейския парламент и Съвета.

 

 

Обосновка

On completion of the single market for postal services, and also in the interest of less red tape, a reporting requirement every four years ought to be enough.

The Commission’s ‘Notice from the Commission on the application of the competition rules to the postal sector and on the assessment of certain State measures relating to postal services’ (98/C 39/02) is rather out of date. Investors need legal certainty, so new Commission guidelines are required.

Изменение

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 21

Член 23, параграф 1 a (нов) (Директива 97/67/ЕО)

 

1a. Отделен доклад за тенденциите на общата заетост в сектора и за условията на труд, прилагани от всички изпълнители във всяка една държава-членка се подава не по-късно от три години след датата на отваряне на пазара към конкуренцията. Докладът дава също така отчет за приетите мерки чрез гласуване на закони или водене на преговори между социалните партньори. Ако докладът разкрива нарушаване на конкуренцията, при необходимост в него се дават и предложения.

Обосновка

Le secteur postal est une industrie qui recourt essentiellement à la main d’œuvre et compte aujourd’hui 5 millions d’emplois. Dans ce contexte et au vu de l’importance des mesures de réglementation sociale du secteur postal, tant du point de vu de l’équité concurrentielle que social (garantir que la compétitivité ne se gagne pas au prix de la précarité), il convient d’adopter une clause de rendez-vous pour dresser le bilan des conditions de travail prévalant chez les opérateurs (anciens et nouveaux) ainsi que des mesures réglementaires adoptées par les Etats membres. Le rapport permettra de recenser les meilleures pratiques et proposer si nécessaire, l’adoption de mesures complémentaires.

Изменение

ЧЛЕН 1, ТОЧКА 21 A (нова)

Член 23 a (нов) (Директива 97/67/EО)

 

(21a) Добавя се следният член 23а:

" Член 23a

 

 

Комисията осигурява помощ на държавите-членки относно прилагането на настоящата директива, в това число насоки относно изчисляването на всякакви нетни разходи преди 1 януари 2009 г. Държавите-членки представят на Комисията своите проекти за финансиране, както е посочено в член 7, параграф 3 и могат също така да предоставят и проучвания.

Изменение 59

ЧЛЕН 2, ТОЧКА 1, АЛИНЕЯ 1

1. Държавите-членки въвеждат в сила законовите, подзаконовите и административни разпоредби, необходими, за да се съобразят с настоящата директива най-късно до 31 декември 2008 г. Те незабавно съобщават на Комисията текста на тези разпоредби и прилагат таблица за съответствие между тези разпоредби и настоящата директива.

1. Държавите-членки въвеждат в сила законовите, подзаконовите и административни разпоредби, необходими, за да се съобразят с настоящата директива най-късно до 31 декември 2009 г.. Те незабавно съобщават на Комисията текста на тези разпоредби и прилагат таблица за съответствие между тези разпоредби и настоящата директива.

(1)

Все още непубликувано в ОВ.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

1. Background

At the end of 2006 the Commission submitted:

1.  a Proposal for a directive amending Directive 97/67/EC concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services (COM(2006) 594),

2.  a Prospective study on the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2009 (COM(2006) 596),

3.  two documents containing the results of the impact assessment (SEC (2006) 1291 and 1292),

4.  a report on the on the application of the Postal Directive (COM(2006) 595).

By submitting documents 1 and 2 above, the Commission has complied with its obligations under Article 7(3) of the Postal Services Directive.

2. Commission’s preparatory work and studies

The Commission proposal is based on a large number of studies. Since 1997, 14 studies were commissioned which were then supplemented by six larger studies between 2004 and 2006. Ten open workshops and a Eurobarometer survey on consumer satisfaction followed. The Commission also carried out a public consultation exercise, during which 2295 questionnaires and 103 other written contributions were submitted.

2.1. Prospective study

The prospective study is based essentially on the results of a 2006 sector study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) on the Impact on Universal Service of the Full Market Accomplishment of the Postal Market. This study may be inspected in full on the Internet at http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/post/studies_en.htm.

This study does not expect any further significant change following full market opening as regards access to postal services. It merely notes, for remote regions, that there may be a need for assisting measures if insufficient alternatives are offered by market actors.

On quality of service, it expects standards to be maintained; however, it mentions that regulatory controls could be necessary for less attractive market segments.

In general, it assumes that the services on offer will be more closely geared to customer needs and willingness to pay. As regards the criterion of affordable prices, the Commission feels that upper price limits might be considered.

On the financing of the universal service, the Commission assumes that, following full market opening, market forces will contribute to a more efficient universal service provision and limit costs, though at the same time it stresses that future of universal service cannot be put solely in the hands of market forces. The possible need for ad hoc financing and regulatory measures is mentioned.

Employment: The Commission assumes that the opening of the market will lead to an expansion of postal markets and ultimately contribute to maintaining sustainable employment within universal service providers and creating new jobs with new operators.

The PWC study comes to the conclusion that the opening of the market in 2009 would not endanger the provision of the universal service in any of the Member States – a view which is expressed in other studies too. Flanking measures are regarded as necessary in individual cases, but it is not felt to be either necessary or appropriate to postpone the date for market opening.

The study fears that a delay in market opening would send the wrong signal to the market. The lack of regulatory certainty might discourage the investments needed to meet the new challenges of the market.

The study considers that appropriate flanking measures to guarantee the provision of the universal service can best be taken at Member State level.

2.2. Impact assessment

The impact assessment (SEC(2006) 1291 and 1292) begins by setting out four basic options:

· Option A – no legislative proposal. It is important to remember that the Postal Services Directive contains a “sunset clause” in Article 27, whereby the directive will expire on 31 December 2008. In other words, if no new proposal has entered into force by then, the postal sector would be governed primarily by EC Treaty rules (in particular the competition rules under Article 86 and Commission decisions and/or directives under Article 86(3)).

· Option B – a substantially new and comprehensive postal services directive.

· Option C – prolongation of the existing Postal Directive beyond 2009 – in this option only the sunset clause ("expiry clause") in Article 27 would be deleted

· Option D – adapting the existing Directive. Under this option, the framework already established would be maintained and built on. This is the strategy pursued in the proposed directive.

Options A and B were expressly rejected in the study, while further consideration was given to options C and D. The Commission then worked out ten specific (detailed) political options, in which, by way of experiment, it varied different parameters such as the extent of the universal service, universal standards, access to essential facilities, financing mechanisms, uniform tariffs, etc. Owing to lack of space it is not possible to go into further detail on this analysis here: your rapporteur recommends reading the study. The results of the impact assessment are of course ultimately reflected in the proposal for a directive.

3. The Commission proposal in detail

The aim of the Commission proposal is:

· to accomplish the internal market in postal services, i.e. to remove exclusive and special rights in the postal sector, while at the same time

· to sustainably safeguard high-quality universal services at affordable prices, and

· to set harmonised principles for the regulation of postal services.

Individual points:

Timetable: The Commission confirms the date of 1 January 2009 for full market opening laid down in the existing Postal Services Directive: from that date there are to be no more exclusive or special rights for individual undertakings.

Flanking measures:

· The mandatory ex-ante designation of universal service provider(s) (Article 4 of the current version of the Postal Services Directive) is also to be abolished. The Member States themselves are to determine the most efficient and appropriate mechanism for the provision – by one or more undertakings – of the universal service. The conditions under which the universal services are entrusted must be based on the principles of objectivity, transparency, non-discrimination, proportionality and least market distortion.

· Universal service tariffs must be oriented to costs. Only in clearly defined exceptional cases is it permitted to deviate from the principle that prices for postal services must be cost-oriented. The Commission proposes that the Member States should limit tariff uniformity to items subject to single piece tariffs, i.e. to the services which are mostly used by consumers and small enterprises (Article 12, second indent).

· Financing of the universal service. The new Article 7 lists the alternatives open to the Member States for financing the universal service after the abolition of exclusive rights. This list comprises:

· public compensation,

· public procurement procedures,

· possibility of introducing a compensation fund.

Other features of the proposal:

· The Member States may continue to use authorisation and individual licenses (Article 9), though the proposal is stricter in specifying which conditions are allowed and which are prohibited.

· Access to central postal infrastructures and services: A new Article 11a is proposed which permits the Member States to ensure, under certain conditions, that transparent and non-discriminatory access conditions are available to particular elements of postal infrastructure ( postcode system, post office boxes, collection and delivery boxes etc.).

· Reinforcing consumer protection (Art. 19). To this end, the application of minimum principles concerning complaint procedures is extended beyond universal service provider(s).

· National regulatory authorities: The role of national regulatory authorities is likely to remain crucial, in particular during the transition to competition. Article 22 calls for the authorities’ regulatory functions to be separated from activities associated with ownership of postal operators, and for greater transparency in the allocation of regulatory duties.

4. Your rapporteur’s assessment and recommendations

Apart from the confirmation of 2009 as the target date for the reserved sector, the key topics at issue are now the following:

· Extent of the universal service – its evolution into a consumer protection instrument

· Financing mechanisms – following the abolition of the reserved sector, is there a need for alternative financing mechanisms?

· Access to specific postal infrastructure facilities: are special rules needed?

Your rapporteur has held numerous detailed discussions with operators in the postal sector and has formed a comprehensive overview of their ideas. In the light of the wide-ranging material available in the form of studies, your rapporteur considers that Parliament now has plenty of documentary evidence on which to base a decision and that there is no need for further hearings, etc.

Your rapporteur is convinced that the Commission is basically pursuing the right course and supports the broad lines of the proposal:

The 2009 deadline should come as no surprise to postal operators: it is already in the existing version of the Postal Services Directive and is thus already based on a conscious decision by the European legislator. Plenty of preparatory time was allowed, and your rapporteur considers that it is now important to send a clear and reliable signal on market opening. Any further delays would create uncertainty, make market actors uneasy and ultimately penalise those countries and undertakings which have acted as pioneers in this field. Your rapporteur also recalls the positive conclusion which Parliament drew, in an own-initiative report back in February 2006, on developments in the market so far and the harmonisation framework put in place (P6_TA(2006)0040).

Your rapporteur has, nonetheless, tabled a number of amendments on individual points requiring addition or clarification. The key points of these amendments are:

a) A balanced solution needs to be found to the question of the extent of the universal service. Small private customers still need protection and guarantees of the kind offered by Article 3 if they are to send and receive small quantities of letters under reasonable conditions, while different conditions apply to larger business customers: under competition, bulk mailing services are provided in accordance with demand; providers react flexibly and develop new services. Your rapporteur proposes that this dichotomy should be taken into account and that the universal service be converted into an instrument of consumer protection – in other words, it should be restricted to individual items. Large business customers and bulk mailers do not require any such protection, and so it would be possible to avoid unnecessary interventions in the provision of these services can be avoided (cf. amendments to recital 14 and Article 13(1)).

b) Your rapporteur is aware of the importance to the consumer of affordable prices for postal services. It is right that this point should remain enshrined in the revised version of the directive. However, two amendments to Article 12 seek to clarify these concepts and underline the options for the national regulatory authorities in this connection.

c) Another important complex of issues relates to the status and rights of workers in the postal sector. To that end, your rapporteur calls for the inclusion of a new Article 9(3a) clarifying the Member States’ options for regulating the conditions of employment.

d) The question of accounting (new version of Article 14) is of crucial importance, since imprecise accounting can easily lead to distortions of the market. Your rapporteur has tabled an amendment seeking to define more precisely the allocation of common costs (costs which cannot be allocated directly to a particular service or product). A further amendment seeks to guarantee the application of Article 14 even when no other universal service providers have been appointed, since even where there is only one provider, distorted accounting by this provider could effectively act as a barrier to market access.

e) A further complex of issues related to accounting is that of cross-subsidy. On this topic your rapporteur has tabled two amendments to recitals. The first seeks to make clear that the monitoring of cross-subsidy falls within the Commission’s sphere of competence: Recital 25 should therefore be deleted. The second amendment, to Recital 26, seeks to achieve a clear allocation of common costs on the basis of their origin in order to avoid cross-subsidy.

f) Clear rules on competition law and state aids are another important element in an operational postal market. To that end your rapporteur has tabled two amendments (on Recital 26a and Article 23) which urge the Commission to provide interpretative communications on these matters.

g) The amendments on the collection of statistics (on Article 22a (1b)) and on a longer interval between Commission reports (Article 23) are intended to contribute to the dismantling of administrative / bureaucratic burdens.

h) Further amendments relate to access to the distribution network (Article 11a) and interoperability (Recital 22).

On the matter of financing, your rapporteur considers that the Commission's list (Article 7) offers the Member States appropriate solutions. Additional solutions which go beyond this list have been suggested to your rapporteur during the course of his consultations, but no convincing alternative concepts have been put forward. Your rapporteur has therefore not tabled any amendments on this point.

Finally, your rapporteur would draw attention once again to the expiry clause (“sunset clause”) with a cut-off point of 21 December 2008. This deadline stands as a warning to Parliament and Council to take decisive action, so that we are not faced with the risk of the Directive expiring at the beginning of 2009 and having to resort to primary law, thereby relinquishing our legislative competence.


OPINION of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (22.5.2007)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council directive amending Directive 97/67/EC concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

(COM(2006)0594 – C6‑0354/2006 – 2006/0196(COD))

Draftswoman: Pervenche Berès

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

On 18 October 2006, in accordance with the second postal directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 June 2002 (2002/39/EC), and on the basis of a study undertaken by the consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2006(1), the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive seeking to complete the internal market in Community postal services.

The main plank of the proposal for a directive is the elimination of the 'reserved area' (residual monopoly) for mail weighing less than 50 grams, with effect from 1 January 2009.

The main question raised by this final stage in the liberalisation of postal service is the financing of universal service and possible additional public postal service obligations.

I - The two main points of the Commission proposal

1) Ensuring compatibility between liberalisation and the financing of universal service

Ø The main focus of the Commission's proposal is to be found in the provisions of the new Article 7 it is introducing into the postal directive, which:

-    abolishes the 'reserved area' with effect from 1 January 2009;

-    introduces the principle of ensuring provision of universal service, in a framework of competition and with due regard for public procurement rules (paragraph 2) by those Member States which so desire;

-    introduces the principle of evaluating the net cost of public service obligations and the possibility of sharing their cost (paragraph 3):

     -    by state aids;

     -    by a compensation fund which may be financed by service providers' and/or users' fees

     -    or by a 'pay-or-play' mechanism, making the granting of authorisations subject to universal service obligations or the financing of a compensation fund.

Ø The Commission proposal also introduces procedures for authorisation and granting of licenses which are subject to compliance with essential universal service obligations (Article 9), transparent and non-discriminatory access to the downstream sector (distribution) of postal infrastructure (Article 11a), and rules on accounting separation and cost calculation distinguishing between providers of market services and providers of universal service (Article 14).

Ø It lays down rules on consumer protection, dealing with complaints and means of redress (Article 19) and spells out the tasks to be undertaken by national regulatory authorities (Article 22).

2)        Financing of universal service: a choice of options for Member States

Ø In place of the 'reserved area' the Commission is proposing several financing options for Member States (subsidiarity principle), including:

-    a compensation fund financed either by levies either on entrants or items.

-    an authorisation procedure including a profitable and a non-profitable zone.

-    a 'pay-or-play' type procedure, which would entail either choosing to finance universal service or paying a fee, which would be tantamount to a combination of the two preceding procedures.

II - New proposals by draftsman:

1)  First proposal: retain the 'reserved area' as one of the ways of financing universal service offered to Member States

While the various methods of financing universal service proposed by the Commission in its proposal for a directive are worthy of examination, there is no objective reason why the 'reserved area' option should be ruled out:

-          In fact, none of these new modes of funding has provided irrefutable proof of superiority over the 'reserved area' system, which is accepted without challenge by users, is transparent and neutral, does not entail state aid, involves law transaction costs and few disputes and is generally validated by economic theory.

-          Secondly, the need to comply with the subsidiarity principle when choosing the mode of financing universal service means that the directive should not exclude any of the options.

Since recent scientific studies(2) clearly show that national variables such as topography, population density and the habits of postal services consumers (average number of items delivered per inhabitant) produce considerable disparities in the cost of supplying the same universal services, it is not so much the 'reserved area' system that appears questionable, but rather the setting of a standard threshold in all Member States (currently 50 grams).

There is therefore no economic or logical reason for ruling out the 'reserved area' system as a possible means of financing universal postal services, provided the cost of supplying that service can be calculated accurately in each Member State on the basis of the abovementioned national variables.

2)        Second proposal: adjusting the 'reserved area' threshold for individual Member States on the basis of the principle of actual costs/threshold proportionality.

While it is perfectly natural that new types of mechanisms for financing universal service should be proposed to the Member States, it is to be regretted that:

Ø the Commission has not taken the time to have a serious and independent comparative study carried out into their cost, and the established or theoretical benefits of the various modes of financing universal service put forward, including the 'reserved area'.

Ø the Commission has at no time proposed adjusting the 'reserved area' threshold on the basis of the cost of providing universal service in the various Member States, as calculated by various scientific studies(3), so as to rid this method of financing of the abuses of monopoly position and distortions of competition it currently entails as a result of not being based on actual costs.

Accordingly, your draftsman proposes that:

1.        the reserved area system be reintroduced in Article 7 as one of the methods for financing universal service offered to Member States, subject to it being based on the actual costs incurred for providing the universal service in the Member States.

2.        the Commission be asked to draw up an accurate and comparative assessment of the different financing methods, based on an independent study entailing a comparative assessment of the various financing methods used worldwide, to be undertaken between now and 1 January 2009.

3.        a proposal for full liberalisation of the internal market in postal services be drawn up based on the conclusions of this study, proposing either a choice between the various methods of financing universal service or the adoption of one of these methods.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Text proposed by the Commission(4)  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

RECITAL 3 A (new)

 

(3a) A further delay in completing liberalisation would be harmful for EU business and consumers alike. Developments as regards substitution, technical evolution and changing customer behaviour contradict the maintenance of existing monopolies and cross-subsidies in the postal sector.

Amendment 2

RECITAL 4

(4) The measures in this area should be designed in such a way that the tasks of the Community pursuant to Article 2 of the EC Treaty, namely, to promote throughout the Community a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities, a high level of employment and of social protection, sustainable and non-inflationary growth, a high degree of competitiveness and convergence of economic performance, the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States are achieved as objectives.

(4) The measures in this area should be designed in such a way that the tasks of the Community pursuant to Article 2 of the EC Treaty, namely, to promote throughout the Community a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities, a high level of employment and of social protection, sustainable and non-inflationary growth, a high degree of competitiveness and convergence of economic performance, the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States are achieved as objectives. In particular, care should be taken that measures in this area do not lead to unstable working conditions. A level playing field should be ensured for all market participants.

Justification

In opening the market to competition it needs to be remembered that working conditions require special protection, particularly as regards stability of employment and income. Equal conditions need to be guaranteed for all market participants so as to avoid distortions of competition.

Amendment 3

RECITAL 4 A (new)

 

(4a) European postal markets have undergone dramatic changes in recent years, a development that has been propelled by technological advancements and increased competition due to deregulation. Due to globalisation, it is essential to take a pro-active, pro-development stance so as not to deprive ourselves and our citizens of the benefits of such changes.

Amendment 4

RECITAL 8

(8) According to the prospective study the basic aim of safeguarding the sustainable provision of a universal service matching the standard of quality defined by the Member States in accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, can be secured throughout the Community by 2009 without the need for a reserved area.

(8) According to the prospective study, and particularly with regard to alternative financing solutions, the basic aim of safeguarding the sustainable provision of a universal service matching the standard of quality defined by the Member States in accordance with Directive 97/67/EC cannot be secured throughout the Community by 2009 without a reserved area for those Member States where such a financing method proves to be necessary.

Justification

Until the Commission has undertaken a thorough review of the financing methods for the universal service, and in view of the difficulties encountered by certain Member States, the reserved area cannot be excluded as a method of financing the universal service.

Amendment 5

RECITAL 10 A (new)

 

(10a) If the universal service is to be maintained and funded without heavy state subsidies, the market must be liberalised and the service providers allowed to operate and compete on a level playing field. That will not be the case while the terms differ depending on whether some of the old Member States took action when Directive 97/67/EC was first adopted, whereas others failed to take the steps necessary to prepare for a gradual and controlled approach towards liberalisation

Amendment 6

RECITAL 24

(24) In a fully competitive environment, it is important, both for the financial equilibrium of the universal service as well as for limiting market distortions, that the principle that prices reflect normal commercial conditions and costs is only departed from in order to protect public interests. This objective is achieved by continuing to allow Member States to maintain uniform tariffs for single piece tariff mail, the service most frequently used by consumers and small and medium size enterprises. Individual Member States may also maintain uniform tariffs for some other mail items to protect general public interest reasons, such as access to culture, regional and social cohesion.

(24) In a highly competitive environment, it is important to ensure that universal service providers are given the pricing flexibility necessary to guarantee a financially viable universal service provision. It is therefore important to ensure, on the one hand, that Member States impose only tariffs departing from the principle that prices reflect normal commercial demand and costs in limited cases. This objective is achieved by continuing to allow Member States to maintain uniform tariffs for single piece tariff mail, the service most frequently used by consumers and small and medium size enterprises. Individual Member States may also maintain uniform tariffs for some other mail items to protect general public interest reasons, such as access to culture, regional and social cohesion. The principle of cost-oriented pricing shall not prevent operators responsible for providing the universal service from applying uniform tariffs for services provided as part of that universal service.

Justification

It is appropriate to assess the implications for the tariff principles applicable to universal service providers of choosing progressive liberalisation because that liberalisation must be accompanied by the necessary flexibility for the universal service provider to cope with competition and by the possibility to adjust to market demand.

Amendment 7

RECITAL 25

(25) In view of the national specificities involved in the regulation of the conditions in which the incumbent universal service provider must operate in a fully competitive environment it is appropriate to leave Member States the freedom to decide how best to monitor cross-subsidies.

deleted

Amendment 8

RECITAL 26

(26) In view of the transition towards a fully competitive market, it is appropriate to continue to require Member States to maintain the obligation on universal service providers of keeping separate and transparent accounts, subject to the necessary adaptations. This obligation should provide national regulatory authorities, competition authorities and the Commission with the information necessary to adopt decisions related to the universal service and to monitor fair market conditions until competition becomes effective. Cooperation between national regulatory authorities in continuing to develop benchmarks and guidelines in this area, should contribute to the harmonised application of these rules.

(26) In view of the transition towards a fully competitive market and in order to ensure that cross-subsidies from universal services to non-universal services do not adversely affect the competitive conditions of the latter, it is appropriate to continue to require Member States to maintain the obligation on universal service providers of keeping separate and transparent accounts, subject to the necessary adaptations. This obligation should provide national regulatory authorities, competition authorities and the Commission with the information necessary to adopt decisions related to the universal service and to monitor fair market conditions until competition becomes effective. Cooperation between national regulatory authorities in continuing to develop benchmarks and guidelines in this area, should contribute to the harmonised application of these rules.

Amendment 9

RECITAL 27 A (new)

 

(27a) Taking into consideration the fact that the major part of postal services are already open to competition and the universal service provider in reserved areas is also exposed to competition by users of new communication technologies, such as the electronic mail system, challenging the universal service provider to modernise and restructure its activity.

Justification

It's a fact that competition is opened in the major part of postal services. Users of new communication technologies make a field of competition for the universal service provider in reserved area, and so making it modernise and restructure its activity.

Amendment 10

RECITAL 32

(32) National regulatory authorities should, where necessary, coordinate their actions with the regulatory bodies of other Member States and with the Commission in carrying out their tasks under this Directive. This would promote the development of the internal market for postal services and help to achieve consistent application, in all Member States, of the provisions set out in this Directive, in particular in areas where national law implementing Community law gives national regulatory authorities considerable discretionary powers in application of the relevant rules. This cooperation could take place, inter alia, in the Committee established by Directive 97/67/EC or in a group comprising European regulators. Member States should decide which bodies are national regulatory authorities for the purposes of this Directive.

(32) National regulatory authorities should, where necessary, coordinate their actions with the regulatory bodies of other Member States and with the Commission in carrying out their tasks under this Directive. This would promote the development of the internal market for postal services and help to achieve consistent application, in all Member States, of the provisions set out in this Directive, in particular in areas where national law implementing Community law gives national regulatory authorities considerable discretionary powers in application of the relevant rules. This cooperation could take place, inter alia, in the Committee established by Directive 97/67/EC or in a group comprising European regulators. That committee should coordinate supervisory procedures regarding universal service obligations, compensation funds and labour standards. Member States should decide which bodies are national regulatory authorities for the purposes of this Directive.

Justification

Consolidation and cross-border activities in the postal market need adequate supervision, both at national and EU level.

Amendment 11

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (A)

Article 2, point 6 (Directive 97/67/EC)

6. postal item: an item addressed in the final form in which it is to be carried by a postal service provider. In addition to items of correspondence, such items also include for instance books, catalogues, newspapers, periodicals and postal packages containing merchandise with or without commercial value;

6. postal item: an item addressed in the final form in which it is to be carried by a postal service provider. In addition to items of correspondence and direct mail, such items also include catalogues, newspapers, periodicals and postal packages containing merchandise with or without commercial value;

Justification

Retaining a definition of direct mail is a strong signal of recognition for the specific characteristics of this market in the postal sector.

Amendment 12

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (B)

Article 2, point 8 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(b) point 8 is deleted;

deleted

Justification

The definition of direct mail is still needed if a reserved area is maintained. Furthermore, retaining a definition of direct mail is a strong signal of recognition for the specific characteristics of this market in the postal sector.

Amendment 13

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2 A (new)

Article 3, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(2a) Article 3(1) shall be replaced by the following:

 

"1. Member States shall ensure that users enjoy the right to a universal service involving the permanent provision of a postal service of specified quality throughout their territory at prices affordable to all users.

 

Only postal services provided at a single-piece tariff shall be part of the universal service."

Justification

The main goal of the Universal Service is to protect the interests of consumers in Europe. Therefore, the Universal Service should mainly be focused on post from private-to-private. This does not include mass mailings.

Amendment 14

ARTICLE 1, POINT 3 A (new)

Article 3, paragraph 4 (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(3a) Article 3(4) shall be replaced by the following:

"4. Each Member State shall adopt the measures necessary to ensure that the universal service includes the following minimum facilities:

 

- the clearance, sorting, transport and distribution of single-piece postal items weighing up to two kilograms; and

 

- the clearance, sorting and transport and distribution of single-piece postal packages services for registered and insured items."

Justification

The requirement of universal service will be adequately fulfilled by providing single piece letter and mail items.

Amendment 15

ARTICLE 1, POINT 4

Article 4, paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

2. Member states may choose to designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers for a part or all of the national territory and for different elements of universal service. When they do so, they shall determine in accordance with Community law the obligations and rights assigned to them and shall publish these obligations and rights. In particular Member States shall take measures to ensure that the conditions under which universal service are entrusted are based on objective, non-discriminatory, proportionate and least market distortion principles, and that the undertakings as universal service providers is limited in time. Member States shall notify the identity of the universal service provider(s) they designate to the Commission.

2. Member States may choose to designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers for a part or all of the national territory and for different elements of universal service if deemed necessary. When they do so, they shall determine in accordance with Community law the obligations and rights assigned to them and shall publish these obligations and rights. In particular Member States shall take measures to ensure that the conditions under which universal service are entrusted are based on objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate principles, and that the undertakings as universal service providers is limited in time.

Amendment 16

ARTICLE 1, POINT 4

Article 4, paragraph 2 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

2a. Member States shall ensure that both undertakings entrusted with the provision of the universal service and those that provide non-universal services comply with minimum social standards, to prevent the emergence of unstable employment conditions in this area.

Amendment 17

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8

Article 7, paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

2. Member States may ensure the provision of universal services by procuring such services in accordance with applicable public procurement rules.

2. In the event of compensation, Member States shall ensure the provision of universal services by procuring such services to the bidder offering the lowest costs who is able to perform the universal services at an adequate level of quality in accordance with public procurement rules.

Justification

In order to encourage efficiency and bring down the compensation costs for the universal service, Member states should organize tenders awarding the lowest bidder the contract.

Amendment 18

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8

Article 7, paragraph 3, introductory part (Directive 97/67/EC)

3. Where a Member State determines that the universal service obligations, as provided for by this Directive, entail a net cost and represent an unfair financial burden for the universal service provider(s), it may:

3. Where a Member State determines that the universal service obligations, as provided for by this Directive, entail a net cost and represent an unfair financial burden for the universal service provider(s) and there is no undertaking willing to provide the universal service without compensation, it may:

Justification

Compensation mechanisms as described in paragraph 7.3 (a) and (b) should only be considered if there is no undertaking willing to provide the universal service without compensation. If an undertaking is willing to provide the universal service without compensation, a public procurement procedure is unnecessary (see AM 2).

Amendment 19

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8

Article 7, paragraph 4 (Directive 97/67/EC)

4. Where the net cost is shared under paragraph 3(b), Member States may establish a compensation fund which may be funded by service providers' and/or users' fees, and is administered for this purpose by a body independent of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. Only those services set out in Article 3 may be financed in this way.

4. Where the net cost is shared under paragraph 3(b), Member States may establish a compensation fund which may be funded by service providers' and/or users' fees, and is administered for this purpose by a body independent of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. Only those services set out in Article 3 may be financed in this way.

Justification

A difference should be made between undertakings designated as universal service providers and other service providers.

Amendment 20

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10

Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

2. For services which are within the scope of the universal service as defined in Article 3, Member States may introduce authorisation procedures, including individual licences, to the extent necessary in order to guarantee compliance with the essential requirements and to safeguard the universal service.

2. For services which are within the scope of the universal service as defined in Article 3 Member states may introduce authorization procedures, including individual licenses, to the extent necessary in order to guarantee compliance with the essential requirements and to safe guard the universal service. Those requirements may, however, be neither disproportionate nor unjust.

Justification

The Member States may not introduce unapproportionate or unjust measures in order to maintain old monopolies in practise.

Amendment 21

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10

Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

The granting of authorisations may:

Whenever Member States designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers in accordance with Article 4(2), the granting of authorisations for those undertakings may:

where appropriate, be made subject to universal service obligations,

– be made subject to universal service obligations,

 

- authorise postal service providers to choose between the obligation to provide one or more elements of the universal service and the making of a financial contribution to the sharing mechanisms referred to in Article 7 for financing the provision of those elements,

if necessary, impose requirements concerning the quality, availability and performance of the relevant services,

– impose requirements concerning the quality, availability and performance of the relevant services; provided that these are compatible with Community law and are indicated in the invitation to tender or in the specifications,

where appropriate, be subject to an obligation to make a financial contribution to the sharing mechanisms referred to in Article 7.

 

Amendment 22

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10

Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraphs 2 a and b (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

The granting of authorisations for service providers other than designated universal service providers may, where appropriate, be subject to an obligation to make a financial contribution to the sharing mechanism referred to in Article 7.

 

Undertakings may choose between an obligation to contribute to the sharing mechanism or to comply with a universal service obligation.

Amendment 23

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10

Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 3, indent 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

- for the same quality, availability and performance requirements impose on a service provider universal service obligations and, at the same time, financial contributions to a sharing mechanism,

deleted

Amendment 24

ARTICLE 1, POINT 13

Article 11a (Directive 97/67/EC)

Whenever necessary to protect the interest of users and/or to promote effective competition, and in the light of national conditions, Member States shall ensure that transparent and non-discriminatory access conditions are available to the following elements of postal infrastructure or services: postcode system, address database, post office boxes, collection and delivery boxes, information on change of address, re-direction service, return to sender service.

Whenever necessary to protect the interest of users and/or to promote effective competition, and in the light of national conditions, Member States shall ensure that transparent and non-discriminatory access conditions are available to the following elements of postal infrastructure or services: postcode system, address database, post office boxes, collection and delivery boxes, distribution services, information on change of address, re-direction service, return to sender service.

Justification

Access to a nation-wide distribution network is crucial to effective entry into the postal market.

Amendment 25

ARTICLE 1, POINT 20

Article 22a, paragraph 2 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

2a. When a national regulatory authority intends to impose a measure which imposes obligations on service providers referred to in Article 9(1) or (2) it shall inform the Commission, giving reasons as well as an outline of the draft measure. A decision to render such measures permanent or extend the time shall be subject to the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2.

Justification

In order to ensure that the Commission can act appropriately if a Member State is to enforce rules or measures to protect monopolies thus preventing the completion of the inner market, national regulatory authorities must be made to submit information about their action.

PROCEDURE

Title

Accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

References

COM(2006)0594 - C6-0354/2006 - 2006/0196(COD)

Committee responsible

TRAN

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

ECON

14.11.2006

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Pervenche Berès

12.12.2006

 

 

Discussed in committee

20.3.2007

23.4.2007

 

 

Date adopted

21.5.2007

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

15

4

Members present for the final vote

Pervenche Berès, Sharon Bowles, Udo Bullmann, Christian Ehler, Jonathan Evans, Elisa Ferreira, Jean-Paul Gauzès, Robert Goebbels, Benoît Hamon, Karsten Friedrich Hoppenstedt, Othmar Karas, Piia-Noora Kauppi, Christoph Konrad, Andrea Losco, Hans-Peter Martin, Cristobal Montoro Romero, Joseph Muscat, Lapo Pistelli, John Purvis, Alexander Radwan, Bernhard Rapkay, Dariusz Rosati, Heide Rühle, Antolín Sánchez Presedo, Olle Schmidt, Peter Skinner, Margarita Starkevičiūtė, Ieke van den Burg

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Katerina Batzeli, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Thomas Mann, Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Gilles Savary, Donato Tommaso Veraldi, Corien Wortmann-Kool

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Armando Veneto, Elmar Brok, Rainer Wieland, Anja Weisgerber, Tobias Pflüger

(1)

'The impact on universal service of the full market accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2009', PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2006.

(2)

Boldron F., Joram D., Martin L. and Roy B., - « From Size of the Box to the Costs of Universal Service Obligation: A Cross-Country Comparison», in “Liberalization of the Postal and Delivery Sector”, edited by Michael Crew and Paul Kleindorfer, Edward Elgar, 2006.

(3)

Ibid.

(4)

Not yet published in OJ.


OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (13.4.2007)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 97/67/EC concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

(COM(2006)0594 – C6‑0354/2006 – 2006/0196(COD))

Draftsman: Stephen Hughes

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The European Commission's proposal for third European directive on postal services foresees the full liberalisation of the postal service market by 2009. This is the third stage of a process that is to guarantee a balance between market opening and provision of universal service. The initial objective of postal reform was and remains the preservation of a high quality universal service in the European Union.

The Commission argues that full liberalisation in 2009 will not affect the provision of a universal service and will enhance employment in this sector. Their conclusions are based on mainly three documents: a Prospective study on the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the postal market in 2009 (COM(2006)0596); an Impact assessment report (SEC(2006)1291); and the report on the application of the Postal Directive (COM(2006)0595).

The Prospective study was ordered by the Commission following a requirement of the second postal directive to assess the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the internal market in postal services. The study however reverses the initial logic of postal reform, because it sees the universal service as adjustable to full liberalisation.

The Commission proposal sets out three main types of financing measures to preserve universal services across the EU: direct financing (Member State subsidies); a compensation fund (financed by all the actors of the sector whether operators, customers or other actors determined by the Member State); public procurement where the service is not spontaneously taken up by the market. However, there is no complete assessment of the advantages and the disadvantages of these measures and it is not clear how they will provide the necessary financing. Moreover, the study does not propose solutions to those Member States where it identifies a possible risk concerning the preservation of the universal services, including some of the new Member States.

It is also important to better analyse the impact of the proposal on employment in the postal sector. According to the Commission, 5 million jobs depend directly or are very closely related to the postal sector. The report argues that full opening of markets will create more and better jobs; however, concrete evidence has to be given that countries where full opening occurred have seen employment numbers increased.

Although the two previous reforms had positive impact on quality and efficiency, new evidence is needed concerning further liberalisation in preserving universal service and employment numbers in the postal sector. Therefore, a more in-depth analysis is needed by means of a new study and concrete proposals put forward before the reserved area (all mail of 50g or less) can be fully put under market conditions.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Text proposed by the Commission(1)  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

RECITAL 4 A (new)

 

(4 a) The universal postal service, as recognised by the Council resolution of 7 February 1994 and Directive 97/67/EC, must be established in accordance with the principle of subsidiary under Article 5(2) of the EC Treaty, which implies that Member States remain free to choose the mode of funding the guaranteed universal service on the national market in postal services.

Amendment 2

RECITAL 5

(5) In its Conclusions concerning the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy the European Council of 22 and 23 March 2005 re-stated the importance of completing the internal market as an instrument to foster growth and create more and better jobs and the important role that effective services of general economic interest have to play in a competitive and dynamic economy. These conclusions remain applicable to postal services, as an essential instrument of communication, trade, and social and territorial cohesion.

(5) In its Conclusions concerning the mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy the European Council of 22 and 23 March 2005 re-stated the importance of completing the internal market as an instrument to foster growth and create more and better jobs and the important role that effective services of general economic interest have to play in a competitive and dynamic economy. These conclusions remain applicable to postal services, as an essential instrument of communication, trade, and social and territorial cohesion, together with employment in the postal services sector where it is necessary to avoid insecurity and social dumping and to preserve jobs. If the impact analysis shows that further liberalisation will lead to the loss of high-quality jobs, open-market arrangements should be reconsidered.

Justification

Open market arrangements should be reconsidered if a precise impact analysis by the Commission shows that they will have an unfavourable effect on employment.

Amendment 3

RECITAL 6

(6) The European Parliament Resolution of 2 February 2006 highlighted the social and economic importance of efficient postal services and their important role in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, indicating that reform measures undertaken so far have brought about significant positive developments in the postal sector, along with increased quality, more efficiency and better customer-orientation.

(6) The European Parliament Resolution of 2 February 2006 points out that the liberalisation of postal services has not always resulted in the creation or preservation of jobs in the postal services sector and highlighted the social and economic importance of efficient postal services and their important role in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, indicating that reform measures undertaken so far have brought about significant positive developments in the postal sector, along with increased quality, more efficiency and better customer-orientation. Taking into consideration that the evolution of a universal service obligation often varies across the Member States, the European Parliament requested that the Commission focus, in drawing up its prospective study under Directive 97/67/EC, on the quality of the universal service provision, as well as on proposing an appropriate definition, scope and financing of a universal service obligation.

(European Parliament resolution on the implementation of the postal services directive (Directive 97/67/EC, amended by Directive 2002/39/EC) (2005/2086(INI)) of 2 February 2006)

Justification

The first paragraph of the resolution of 2 February 2006 explicitly states that the effects on the employment market in the postal sector of liberalisation of the postal services have not all been positive (amendment refers to text of resolution). For the sake of completeness, both aspects should be mentioned; It is also necessary to keep in mind the very precise demands from the European Parliament to the Commission in its 2nd February 2006 resolution on the implementation of the postal directive for the purposes of the prospective study.

Amendment 4

RECITAL 7

(7) In accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, a prospective study assessing, for each Member State, the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2009 has been carried out. The Commission has also undertaken a thorough review of the Community postal sector, including the commissioning of studies on the economic, social and technological developments in the sector, and has consulted extensively with interested parties.

(7) In accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, a prospective study assessing, for each Member State, the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2009 has been carried out. The Commission has also undertaken a review of the Community postal sector, including the commissioning of studies on the economic, social and technological developments in the sector, and has consulted extensively with interested parties. A complete understanding of all the consequences of the full accomplishment of the internal market on employment, social and territorial cohesion calls for a wider consultation of all interested parties, however.

Justification

Given the implications of the full market opening in the postal sector, the Commission should make a thorough study of the impact of liberalisation on employment, social and territorial cohesion.

Amendment 5

RECITAL 8

(8) According to the prospective study the basic aim of safeguarding the sustainable provision of a universal service matching the standard of quality defined by the Member States in accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, can be secured throughout the Community by 2009 without the need for a reserved area.

(8) Although the prospective study claims that the basic aim of safeguarding the sustainable provision of a universal service matching the standard of quality defined by the Member States in accordance with Directive 97/67/EC can be secured throughout the Community by 2009 without the need for a reserved area, insufficient evidence has been produced on a lasting guarantee of the provision of the universal service, which is a genuine force for social and territorial cohesion.

Justification

The Commission needs give concrete proposals on how the universal services will be financed and maintained in the future without the reserved area.

Amendment 6

RECITAL 9

(9) The progressive and gradual opening of postal markets to competition has provided universal service providers with sufficient time to put in place the necessary modernisation and restructuring measures required to ensure their long-term viability under the new market conditions, and enabled Member States to adapt their regulatory systems to a more open environment. Member States may furthermore avail themselves of the opportunity offered by the period of transposition, as well as the substantial time necessary for the introduction of effective competition, to proceed with further modernisation and restructuring of the universal service providers as necessary.

(9) The progressive and gradual opening of postal markets to competition has allowed universal service providers to put in place modernisation and restructuring measures and enabled Member States to adapt their regulatory systems to a more open environment, but long-term viability under fully opened market conditions is not yet guaranteed.

Amendment 7

RECITAL 10

(10) The prospective study shows that the reserved area should no longer be the preferred solution for the financing of the universal service. This assessment takes into account the interest of the Community and its Member States in the accomplishment of the internal market and its potential for delivering growth and employment, as well as ensuring the availability of an efficient service of general economic interest for all users. It is therefore appropriate to confirm the date of 1 January 2009 as the final step in the accomplishment of the internal market for postal services.

(10) Although the prospective study attempts to show that the reserved area should no longer be the preferred solution for the financing of the universal service, this assessment does not take into account the interest of the Community and its Member States in delivering more and better employment, as well as ensuring the availability of an efficient and accessible service of general economic interest for all users. It would therefore be more appropriate to postpone the date of 1 January 2009 as the final step in the accomplishment of the internal market for postal services to a later date.

Justification

Market opening needs to be deferred until the Commission undertakes a new study focusing on financing and employment.

Amendment 8

RECITAL 12

(12) Complete market-opening will help to expand the overall size of the postal markets; it will further contribute to maintaining sustainable and quality employment within universal service providers as well as facilitating the creation of new jobs in other operators, new entrants and associated economic activities. The present Directive is without prejudice to the competence of Member States to regulate employment conditions in the postal services sector.

(12) While complete market-opening will help to expand the overall size of the postal markets, it also needs to further contribute to maintaining sustainable and quality employment within universal service providers as well as facilitating the creation of new jobs in other operators, new entrants and associated economic activities. The present Directive is without prejudice to the competence of Member States to regulate employment conditions in the postal services sector. It is also important not to downgrade working conditions by undermining sector-based collective agreements as efficient tools safeguarding against a race to the bottom. Contrary to other network industries, labour costs represent around 80 % of operators' costs and are essentially fixed costs for incumbent operators.

Justification

Only sectoral collective agreements can guarantee quality employment conditions given the specificity of the sector.

Amendment 9

RECITAL 13

(13) Increased competitiveness should furthermore enable the postal sector to be integrated with alternative methods of communication and allow the quality of the service provided to ever-more demanding users to be improved.

(13) Increased competitiveness should furthermore enable the postal sector to be integrated with alternative methods of communication and allow the quality of the service provided to ever-more demanding users to be improved. Further market opening will continue to benefit particularly consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises, both as senders and as recipients of mail, by bringing in quality improvements, wider choice, passed-on price reductions, innovative services and business models.

Justification

Specific advantages for consumers should be highlighted. In particular, as mail sent by consumers and only represents a small share of the total mail (approx.10%), as compared to the remaining mail sent by business, consumer benefits should be explained both from the sending and the receiving end (often paid by the consumers either directly, e.g. bank statements, electronic commerce purchasing or indirectly).

Amendment 10

RECITAL 14

(14) The developments in the neighbouring communications markets have had a varied impact in different regions of the Community and segments of the population and the use of postal services. Territorial and social cohesion should be maintained, and taking into account that Member States may adapt some specific service features to accommodate local demand by applying flexibility provided in Directive 97/67/EC, it is appropriate to fully maintain the universal service and the associated quality requirements set out in the said Directive. In order to ensure that market opening continues to benefit all users, in particular consumers and small and medium size enterprises, Member States must monitor and supervise market developments. They must take appropriate regulatory measures, available under the Directive, to ensure that accessibility to postal services continues to satisfy the needs of users including, by ensuring, where appropriate, a minimum number of services at the same access point.

(14) The developments in the neighbouring communications markets have had a varied impact in different regions of the Community and segments of the population and the use of postal services. Territorial and social cohesion should be maintained, and taking into account that Member States may adapt some specific service features to accommodate local demand by applying flexibility provided in Directive 97/67/EC, it is appropriate to fully maintain the universal service and the associated quality requirements set out in the said Directive. In order to ensure that market opening continues to benefit all users, in particular consumers and small and medium size enterprises, Member States must monitor and supervise market developments. They must take appropriate regulatory measures, available under the Directive, to ensure that accessibility to postal services continues to satisfy the needs of users including, by ensuring, where appropriate, a minimum number of services at the same access point. At the same time, the Member States should introduce and enforce appropriate penalties for profiteering, restrictive practices, discrimination, etc. by service providers at the expense of users.

Amendment 11

RECITAL 14 A (new)

 

(14a) The universal service assured by this Directive guarantees one clearance and one delivery to the home or premises of every natural or legal person every working day, even in remote or sparsely-populated areas.

Justification

It is necessary to further clarify that the directive guarantees the five days a week postal service in remote or sparsely-populated areas.

Amendment 12

RECITAL 17

(17) In the light of the studies carried out and with a view to unlocking the full potential of the internal market for postal services, it is appropriate to end the use of the reserved area and special rights as a way of ensuring the financing of the universal service.

(17) In the light of the lack of solid solutions for the financing of the universal service, it is prudent to maintain the use of the reserved area and special rights as a way of ensuring the financing of the universal service until a new study provides evidence of the creation of more and better jobs as well as sources for financing a universal service including good accessibility and quality.

Justification

Among the solutions proposed by the Commission, Member State subsidy is the probably the most concrete proposal, however, this can put substantial pressure on national budgets. Therefore, the efficiency of the other sources needs to be proven before the reserved area is lifted.

Amendment 13

RECITAL 18

(18) The external financing of the residual net costs of universal service may still be necessary for some Member States. It is therefore appropriate to explicitly clarify the alternatives available to ensure the financing of the universal service, to the extent that this is needed and is adequately justified, while leaving Member States the choice of the financing mechanisms to be used. These alternatives include the use of public procurement procedures and, whenever universal service obligations entail net costs of universal service and represent an unfair burden for the designated undertaking, public compensation and cost sharing between service providers and/or users in a transparent fashion by means of contributions to a compensation fund. Member States may use other means of financing permitted by Community Law, such as deciding that the profits accruing from other activities of the universal service providers outside the scope of the universal service are to be assigned in whole or in part to the financing of the net costs of the universal service, as long as they are compatible with the present Directive.

(18) Financing of the residual net costs of universal service continues to be necessary for the Member States via the reserved area and special rights. It is therefore appropriate to propose satisfactory alternatives available to ensure the financing of the universal service in the event of full market-opening, to the extent that this is needed and is adequately justified, while leaving to Member States the choice of the financing mechanisms to be used. Public procurement procedures, public compensation and cost sharing between service providers by means of contributions to a compensation fund remains to be proven as an effective solution. Moreover, the potential ending of the monopoly cannot be exchanged for hypothetical financing mechanisms whose solidity and ability to ensure a sustainable universal service also remain to be proven.

Justification

In this paragraph, Commission reverses the logic and the objective becomes the adaptation of the universal service to market opening while it should be the other way around. It is inadmissible that users bear the net residual cost of a universal service by imposing a levy on them, whereas at present the reserved service does not involve any specific charges for users.

Amendment 14

RECITAL 19

(19) In order to determine which undertakings may be required to contribute to a compensation fund, Member States should consider whether the services provided by such undertakings may, from a user's perspective, be regarded as substitutable to universal services, taking into account the characteristics of the services, including added value features, and their intended use. In order to be considered substitutable, the services do not necessarily have to cover all the features of the universal service, such as daily delivery or complete national coverage. In order to comply with the proportionality principle when determining the contribution to the costs of the provision of universal service in a Member State asked from these undertakings, Member States should use transparent and non discriminatory criteria such as the share of these undertakings in the activities falling within the scope of the universal service in this Member State.

deleted

Amendment 15

RECITAL 20

(20) The principles of transparency, non-discrimination and proportionality contained in Directive 97/67/EC must continue to be applied to any financing mechanism and any decision in this area be based on transparent, objective and verifiable criteria. In particular, the net cost of universal service is to be calculated, under the responsibility of the national regulatory authority, as the difference between the net costs for a designated undertaking operating with the universal service obligations and operating without the universal service obligations. The calculation shall take into account all other relevant elements, including any market benefits which accrue to an undertaking designated to provide universal service, the entitlement to a reasonable profit and incentives for cost efficiency.

deleted

Justification

In this paragraph, Commission reverses the logic and the objective becomes the adaptation of the universal service to market opening while it should be the other way around.

Amendment 16

RECITAL 21

(21) Member States should be allowed to use authorisation and individual licenses whenever justified and proportionate to the objective pursued. However, as highlighted by the third Report on the Application of Directive 97/67/EC, further harmonisation of the conditions that may be introduced appears necessary to reduce unjustified barriers to the provision of services in the internal market. In this context, Member States may for example allow undertakings to choose between the obligation to provide a service or to contribute financially to the costs of this service provided by another undertaking, but should no longer be allowed to impose the concurrent requirement to contribute to a sharing mechanism and the imposition of universal service or quality obligations that are intended to serve the same purpose. It is also appropriate to clarify that some of the provisions on authorisation and licensing should not apply to designated universal service providers.

deleted

Justification

idem as above

Amendment 17

RECITAL 24

(24) In a fully competitive environment, it is important, both for the financial equilibrium of the universal service as well as for limiting market distortions, that the principle that prices reflect normal commercial conditions and costs is only departed from in order to protect public interests. This objective is achieved by continuing to allow Member States to maintain uniform tariffs for single piece tariff mail, the service most frequently used by consumers and small and medium size enterprises. Individual Member States may also maintain uniform tariffs for some other mail items to protect general public interest reasons, such as access to culture, regional and social cohesion.

(24) In an increasingly competitive environment, it is important, both for the financial equilibrium of the universal service as well as for limiting market distortions, that the principle that prices reflect normal commercial conditions and costs is only departed from in order to protect public interests. This objective is achieved by continuing to allow Member States to maintain uniform tariffs for items of correspondence which are most frequently used by consumers and small and medium size enterprises. Individual Member States may also maintain uniform tariffs for some other mail items to protect general public interest reasons, such as access to culture, regional and social cohesion.

Amendment 18

RECITAL 25

(25) In view of the national specificities involved in the regulation of the conditions in which the incumbent universal service provider must operate in a fully competitive environment it is appropriate to leave Member States the freedom to decide how best to monitor cross-subsidies.

deleted

Justification

See justification to the amendment to article 1, point 14, point d)

Amendment 19

RECITAL 34

(34) In order to keep the European Parliament and the Council informed on the development of the internal market for postal services, the Commission should regularly submit reports to those institutions on the application of Directive 97/67/EC.

(34) In order to keep the European Parliament and the Council informed on the progress towards the accomplishment of the internal market for postal services, the Commission should regularly submit reports to those institutions on the application of Directive 97/67/EC.

Justification

idem as above

Amendment 20

RECITAL 34 A (new)

 

(34a) Member States address the issue of working conditions in the postal sector in diverging ways. While the Commission in its report under Article 23 of Directive 97/67/EC is obliged to give information on social and employment patterns, this Directive is not intended to interfere with the competence of Member States to ensure high-quality employment in the sector. Member States may actively provide for decent working conditions in the postal sector. This may be done, in particular, through collective agreements or by setting minimum wages or within the framework of licensing regimes.

Justification

Given the importance of working conditions for those employed in the postal sector and the need to avoid a serious decrease in the working conditions, it is appropriate to underline that this Directive does not hinder Member States to actively regulate and safeguard the working conditions including those of the employees in the postal sector in accordance with their national legislation. It should also be clarified that the obligation of the Commission to include in its report under Article 23 social and employment patterns does not create a Community competence in this specific sector.

Amendment 21

RECITAL 35

(35) In order to confirm the framework for the regulation of the sector the date of expiry of Directive 97/67/EC should be deleted.

(35) Within the spirit of Directive 2002/39/EC, amending Directive 97/67/EC, the Commission should carry out a new study examining the qualitative and quantitative impact of market opening on employment in the sector and developing concrete proposals on how the universal service is to be financed in future in each of the 27 Member States by 31 December 2009. In light of the conclusions of the study, the Commission should propose a new date for the full accomplishment of the postal internal market or determine any other steps to be taken. Accordingly, the date of expiry of Directive 97/67/EC should be postponed.

Justification

Article 1, point 1 of Directive 2002/39/EC amending Article 7(3) of Directive 97/67/EC says that the Commission should finalise a prospective study which will assess for each Member State the impact of market opening and only in light of such a study can it determine the full accomplishment of the postal internal market 'or determining any other step in light of the study's conclusions'. The study finalised but the Commission has drawn conclusions without having assessed the impact of market opening on each of the 27 Member States.

Amendment 22

ARTICLE 1, POINT 1
Article 1, second indent (Directive 97/67/EC)

(1) In Article 1, the second indent is replaced by the following:

deleted

'- the conditions governing the provision of postal services,'

 

Amendment 23

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (A)
Article 2, point 6 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(a) point 6 is replaced by the following:

deleted

'6. postal item: an item addressed in the final form in which it is to be carried by a postal service provider. In addition to items of correspondence, such items also include for instance books, catalogues, newspapers, periodicals and postal packages containing merchandise with or without commercial value;'

 

Amendment 24

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (B)
Article 2, point 8 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(b) point 8 is deleted

deleted

Justification

The definition must remain, as the reserved area is to be maintained and amendment to Article 7 keeps the reference and the conditions applicable to direct mail.

Amendment 25

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (B A) (new)
Article 2, point 19, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(ba) Point 19, paragraph 1, is replaced by the following:

 

'(19) essential requirements: general non-economic reasons which can induce a Member State to impose conditions on the supply of postal services. These reasons are the confidentiality of correspondence, security of the network as regards the transport of dangerous goods and, where justified, data protection, environmental protection, regional planning and decent working conditions.'

Justification

It is appropriate to underline that this Directive does not hinder Member States to actively regulate and safeguard the working conditions including those of the employees in the postal sector in accordance with their national legislation. This amendment should allow Member States to maintain or introduce the obligation to respect decent working conditions in the postal sector in the framework of an authorisation regime.

Amendment 26

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (C)
Article 2, point 20 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(c) the following point is added:

deleted

'20. services provided at single piece tariff: postal services for which the tariff is set in the general terms and conditions of universal service providers for the transport of individual postal items.'

 

Justification

If the previous amendment is to be adopted, this Commission text becomes redundant.

Amendment 27

ARTICLE 1, POINT 3
Article 3, paragraph 3, subparagraph 1, introductory wording (Directive 97/67/EC)

(3) In the first subparagraph of Article 3(3), the introductory wording is replaced by the following:

deleted

'They shall take steps to ensure that the universal service is guaranteed every working day and not less than five days a week, save in circumstances or geographical conditions deemed exceptional by the national regulatory authorities, and that it includes as a minimum:'

 

Justification

If the reserved area is to be maintained, reference in this paragraph to the universal service provider(s) must remain.

Amendment 28

ARTICLE 1, POINT 4
Article 4 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(4) Article 4 is replaced by the following:

deleted

'Article 4

 

1. Each Member State shall ensure that the provision of the universal service is guaranteed and shall notify the Commission of the steps it has taken to fulfil this obligation. The Committee established under Article 21 shall be informed and monitor the evolution of the measures established by Member States to ensure the provision of the universal service.

 

2. Member States may choose to designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers for a part or all of the national territory and for different elements of universal service. When they do so, they shall determine in accordance with Community law the obligations and rights assigned to them and shall publish these obligations and rights. In particular Member States shall take measures to ensure that the conditions under which universal services are entrusted are based on objective, non–discriminatory, proportionate and least market distortion principles, and that the designation of undertakings as universal service providers is limited in time. Member States shall notify the identity of the universal service provider(s) they designate to the Commission.

 

Justification

If the reserved area is to be maintained, reference in this paragraph to the universal service provider(s) must remain.

Amendment 29

ARTICLE 1, POINT 4 A (new)
Article 4, paragraph 1 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(4a) In article 4, the following paragraph is added:

1a. Member States may require the selected operator to offer to staff previously engaged in providing the services the rights that they would have enjoyed had a transfer occurred within the meaning of Council Directive 77/187/EEC1. The competent authority shall list the staff and give details of their contractual rights.

 

1. Council Directive 77/187/EEC of 14 February 1977 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the safeguarding of employees’ rights in the event of transfers of undertakings, businesses or parts of businesses (OJ L 61, 5.3.77, p. 26).

Justification

It ensures workers’ protection in case USO activities are transferred to another operator following an open procedure (Art 4). In accordance with ECJ case-law and the Interpretative Communication on social considerations into public procurement (FAQ, 15/10/2001), procedures similar to the ones in Art 4, could have the same effects on workers as a classic transfer. It brings legal certainty and paraphrases the proposal for a Regulation on action by MS concerning public service requirements and the award of public service contracts in passenger transport by rail, road and inland waterway (Art 9).

Amendment 30

ARTICLE 1, POINT 6
Article 6 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Member States shall take steps to ensure that users and undertakings providing postal services are regularly given sufficiently detailed and up-to-date information regarding the particular features of the universal services offered, with special reference to the general conditions of access to these services as well as to prices and quality standard levels. This information shall be published in an appropriate manner.

Member States shall take steps to ensure that users and undertakings providing postal services are regularly given sufficiently detailed and up-to-date information by the universal service provider(s) regarding the particular features of the universal services offered, with special reference to the general conditions of access to these services as well as to prices and quality standard levels. This information shall be published in an appropriate manner.

Member States shall notify the Commission, how the information to be published in accordance with the first subparagraph is being made available.

Member States shall notify the Commission, how the information to be published in accordance with the first subparagraph is being made available.

Justification

If the reserved area is to be maintained, reference in this paragraph to the universal service provider(s) must remain.

Amendment 31

ARTICLE 1, POINT 7
Chapter 3, title (Directive 97/67/EC)

(7) In Chapter 3, the title is replaced by the following:

deleted

'CHAPTER 3

 

Financing of universal services'

 

Justification

The financing of universal services must be subject to a new study carried out by the Commission.

Amendment 32

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8
Article 7 (Directive 97/67/EC)

1. With effect from 1 January 2009 Member States shall not grant or maintain in force exclusive or special rights for the establishment and the provision of postal services. Member States may finance the provision of universal services in accordance with one or more of the means provided for in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, or in accordance with any other means compatible with the EC Treaty.

1. With effect from 1 January 2009 to the extent necessary to ensure the maintenance of the universal service, Member States may continue to reserve services to universal service provider(s). Those services shall be limited to the clearance, sorting, transport and delivery of items of domestic correspondence and incoming cross-border correspondence, whether by accelerated delivery or not, within both of the following weight and price limits. The weight limit shall continue to be 50 grams from 1 January 2009. This weight limit shall not apply if the price is equal to, or more than, two-and-a-half times the public tariff for an item of correspondence in the first weight step of the fastest category.

 

To the extent necessary to ensure the provision of the universal service, direct mail may continue to be reserved within the same weight and price limits.

 

To the extent necessary to ensure the provision of the universal service, for example when certain sectors of postal activity have already been liberalised or because of the specific characteristics particular to the postal services in a Member State, outgoing cross-border mail may continue to be reserved within the same weight and price limits.

2. Member States may ensure the provision of universal services by procuring such services in accordance with applicable public procurement rules.

2. Document exchange may not be reserved.

3. Where a Member State determines that the universal service obligations, as provided for by this Directive, entail a net cost and represent an unfair financial burden for the universal service provider(s), it may:

3. The Commission shall finalise a new prospective study which will assess how universal service will be financed in future as well as how to maintain or improve employment in the postal sector from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Based on the study’s conclusions, the Commission shall submit, by 31 December 2009, a report to the European Parliament and to the Council, accompanied by a proposal, if appropriate, of a date for the full accomplishment of the postal internal market or determining any other steps to be taken in the light of the study’s conclusions.

(a) Introduce a mechanism to compensate the undertaking(s) concerned from public funds;

 

(b) Share the net cost of universal service obligations between providers of services and/or users.

 

4. Where the net cost is shared under paragraph 3(b), Member States may establish a compensation fund which may be funded by service providers' and/or users' fees, and is administered for this purpose by a body independent of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. Member States may make the granting of authorisations to service providers under Article 9(2) subject to an obligation to make a financial contribution to that fund or to comply with universal service obligations. Only those services set out in Article 3 may be financed in this way.

 

5. Member States shall ensure that the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and proportionality are respected in establishing the compensation fund and when fixing the level of the financial contributions referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4. Decisions taken under paragraphs 3 and 4 shall be based on objective and verifiable criteria and be made public.

 

Justification

The Commission will first have to produce a new study by end of 2009 that clarifies how universal services will be guaranteed in the future as well as how employment levels and quality improved; only then can the reserved area be fully opened to market conditions. Until then a status quo must remain with the 50g reserve area remaining the privileged source of financing.

Amendment 33

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8 A (new)
Article 8 (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(8a) Article 8 is replaced by the following:

 

'Article 8

 

The provisions of Article 7 shall be without prejudice to Member States’ right to:

 

- define specific criteria applicable to the provision of the universal service in accordance with the principles of objectivity, proportionality and non-discrimination;

 

- organise the siting of letter boxes on the public highway, the issue of postage stamps and the registered mail service used in the course of judicial or administrative procedures, in accordance with national legislation as a universal service.'

Justification

It is appropriate to allow Member States to enact specific provisions in favour of universal service providers needed for the effective provision of the universal service. Universal service providers benefit in different national legislations from certain specific provisions (that is, concerning transport legislation, exceptions to rules such as trucks not allowed to roll on Sundays) allowing them to provide the universal service in the terms specified by their Member State.

Amendment 34

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

1. For services which are outside the scope of the universal service as defined in Article 3, Member States may introduce general authorisations to the extent necessary in order to guarantee compliance with the essential requirements.

1. For non-reserved services which are outside the scope of the universal service as defined in Article 3, Member States may introduce general authorisations to the extent necessary in order to guarantee compliance with the essential requirements.

Justification

Change to paragraph 1 is intended to restore the original text of the Directive.

Amendment 35

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

2. For services which are within the scope of the universal service as defined in Article 3, Member States may introduce authorisation procedures, including individual licences, to the extent necessary in order to guarantee compliance with the essential requirements and to safeguard the universal service.

2. For non-reserved services which are within the scope of the universal service as defined in Article 3, Member States may introduce authorisation procedures, including individual licences, to the extent necessary in order to guarantee compliance with the essential requirements and to safeguard the universal service.

Justification

Change to paragraph 2 is intended to restore the original text of the Directive.

Amendment 36

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2, indent 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

if necessary, impose requirements concerning the quality, availability and performance of the relevant services,

– impose, inter alia, requirements concerning the quality, availability and performance of the relevant services; provided that they are compatible with Community law and are set out in the invitation to tender or in the specifications, such requirements may, in particular, concern social and environmental considerations,

Justification

This amendment adds legal certainty and complies with EU public procurement legislation as it is comparable to Article 38 the Directive 2004/17/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 coordinating the procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors (Article 38).

Amendment 37

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2, indent 3 (Directive 97/67/EC)

– where appropriate, be subject to an obligation to make a financial contribution to the sharing mechanisms referred to in Article 7.

deleted

Justification

Change to paragraph 2 is intended to restore the original text of the Directive.

Amendment 38

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2, indent 3 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

– be subject to an obligation to offer to staff previously engaged in providing the services the rights that they would have enjoyed had a transfer occurred within the meaning of Council Directive 77/187/EEC. The competent authority shall list the staff and give details of their contractual rights.

Justification

This amendment must be read together with Article 4’s first insertion as it aims at enhancing the scope of the workers protection to the situation licensees are operating within the USO. Indeed, the same issue as in the situation of a USP designation, may occur, i.e. the loss by the historical USP of an activity/a market segment, to the profit of a licensee. The same protection must be insured to possibly affected workers.

Amendment 39

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 3 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Except in the case of undertakings that have been designated as universal service providers in accordance with Article 4, authorisations may not:

deleted

– be limited in number,

 

– for the same quality, availability and performance requirements impose on a service provider universal service obligations and, at the same time, financial contributions to a sharing mechanism,

 

– duplicate conditions which are applicable to undertakings by virtue of other, non sector specific, national legislation,

 

– impose technical or operational conditions other than those necessary to fulfil the obligations of this Directive.

 

Justification

Change to paragraph 2 is intended to restore the original text of the Directive.

Amendment 40

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 2 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

2a. The provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be without prejudice to Member States’ responsibilities for regulating working conditions. Member States may in particular take measures to provide for decent working conditions in the postal sector.

Justification

It is appropriate to underline that this Directive does not hinder Member States to actively regulate and safeguard the working conditions including those of the employees in the postal sector in accordance with their national legislation. This amendment should allow Member States to maintain or introduce the obligation to respect decent working conditions in the postal sector in the framework of an authorisation regime.

Amendment 41

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 3 (Directive 97/67/EC)

3. The procedures, obligations and requirements referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be transparent, accessible, non-discriminatory, proportionate, precise and unambiguous, made public in advance and based on objective criteria. Member States shall ensure that the reasons for refusing an authorisation in whole or in part are communicated to the applicant and must establish an appeal procedure.’

3. The procedures, obligations and requirements referred to in paragraphs 1, 2 and 2a shall be transparent, accessible, non-discriminatory, proportionate, precise and unambiguous, made public in advance and based on objective criteria. Member States must ensure that the reasons for refusing an authorisation in whole or in part are communicated to the applicant and must establish an appeal procedure.

Justification

It is appropriate to underline that this Directive does not hinder Member States to actively regulate and safeguard the working conditions including those of the employees in the postal sector in accordance with their national legislation. This amendment should allow Member States to maintain or introduce the obligation to respect decent working conditions in the postal sector in the framework of an authorisation regime.

Amendment 42

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 3 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

3a. In order to ensure that the universal service is safeguarded, where a Member State determines that the universal service obligations, as provided for by this Directive, represent an unfair financial burden for the universal service provider, it may establish a compensation fund administered for this purpose by a body independent of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. In such a case, it may make the granting of authorisation subject to an obligation to make a financial contribution to that fund. The Member State concerned must ensure that the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and proportionality are respected in establishing the compensation fund and when setting the level of the financial contributions. Only those services set out in Article 3 may be financed in this way.

Justification

The new paragraph 3 a is identical to paragraph 4 of the current Directive: the compensation fund foreseen in paragraph 4 must be maintained insofar a new Commission study on the financing of the universal service is produced.

Amendment 43

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 3 b (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

3b. Member States may provide for an identification system for direct mail, allowing the supervision of such services where they are liberalised.

Justification

The new paragraph 3 b is identical to paragraph 5 of the current Directive: the reference to direct mail in paragraph 5 must be kept as it is part of the reserved area

Amendment 44

ARTICLE 1, POINT 11
Article 10, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

1. The European Parliament and the Council, acting on a proposal from the Commission and on the basis of Articles 47(2), 55 and 95 of the Treaty, shall adopt the measures necessary for the harmonisation of the procedures referred to in Article 9 governing the commercial provision of postal services to the public.

1. The European Parliament and the Council, acting on a proposal from the Commission and on the basis of Articles 47(2), 55 and 95 of the Treaty, shall adopt the measures necessary for the harmonisation of the procedures referred to in Article 9 governing the commercial provision of non-reserved postal services to the public.

Justification

As a reserved area is to be maintained, the distinction between reserved and non-reserved postal services must be kept.

Amendment 45

ARTICLE 1, POINT 14, POINT (A)
Article 12, indent 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

- prices must be affordable and must be such that all users have access to the services provided. Member States may maintain or introduce free postal service for blind and partially sighted persons,

- prices must be affordable and must be such that all users have access to the services provided. National regulatory authorities shall monitor all price increases in excess of the national consumer price index in order to ensure that postal services remain affordable. Member States shall ensure the provision of free postal services for use by blind and partially sighted persons,

Amendment 46

ARTICLE 1, POINT 14, POINT (B)
Article 12, indent 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

- prices must be cost-oriented and stimulate efficiency gains; whenever necessary for reasons relating to the public interest, Member States may decide that a uniform tariff should be applied throughout their national territory and/or to the territories of other Member States, to services provided at single piece tariff and to other items,

- prices must be cost-oriented; whenever necessary for reasons relating to the public interest, Member States may decide that a uniform tariff should be applied throughout their national territory,

Justification

Efficiency gains must be stimulated by means of an adequate management of staff, infrastructure and services provided, not by means of tariffs. Reference to single piece tariff has been taken out from this draft opinion (see am 17).

Amendment 47

ARTICLE 1, POINT 14, POINT (D)

Article 12, indent 6 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(d) The sixth indent is deleted.

deleted

Justification

The maintenance of a reserved area for postal services justifies the maintenance of current rules on cross-subsidisation in Article 12, sixth indent, of Directive 97/67/EC.

Amendment 48

ARTICLE 1, POINT 15
Article 14, paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

2. The universal service providers shall keep separate accounts within their internal accounting systems to clearly distinguish between services and products which receive or contribute to the financial compensation for the net costs of the universal service and those services and products which do not. This accounting separation shall allow Member States to calculate the net cost of the universal service. Such internal accounting systems shall operate on the basis of consistently applied and objectively justifiable cost accounting principles.

2. The universal service providers shall keep separate accounts within their internal accounting systems at least for each of the services within the reserved sector on the one hand and for the non-reserved services on the other. The accounts for the non-reserved services should clearly distinguish between services that are part of the universal service and those that are not. Such internal accounting systems shall operate on the basis of consistently applied and objectively justifiable cost accounting principles.

Justification

The maintenance of a reserved area for postal services justifies the maintenance of current text of Art 14(2) of Directive 97/67/EC.

Amendment 49

ARTICLE 1, POINT 15
Article 14, paragraph 3 (Directive 97/67/EC)

3. The accounting systems referred to in paragraph 2 shall, without prejudice to paragraph 4, allocate costs in the following manner:

3. The accounting systems referred to in paragraph 2 shall, without prejudice to paragraph 4, allocate costs to each of the reserved and to the non-reserved services respectively in the following manner:

(a) costs which can be directly assigned to a particular service or product shall be so assigned;

(a) costs which can be directly assigned to a particular service shall be so assigned;

(b) common costs, that is costs which cannot be directly assigned to a particular service or product, shall be allocated as follows:

(b) common costs, that is costs which cannot be directly assigned to a particular service or product, shall be allocated as follows:

(i) whenever possible, common costs shall be allocated on the basis of direct analysis of the origin of the costs themselves;

(i) whenever possible, common costs shall be allocated on the basis of direct analysis of the origin of the costs themselves;

(ii) when direct analysis is not possible, common cost categories shall be allocated on the basis of an indirect linkage to another cost category or group of cost categories for which a direct assignment or allocation is possible; the indirect linkage shall be based on comparable cost structures;

(ii) when direct analysis is not possible, common cost categories shall be allocated on the basis of an indirect linkage to another cost category or group of cost categories for which a direct assignment or allocation is possible; the indirect linkage shall be based on comparable cost structures;

(iii) when neither direct nor indirect measures of cost allocation can be found, the cost category shall be allocated on the basis of a general allocator computed by using the ratio of all expenses directly or indirectly assigned or allocated, on the one hand, to each of the universal services and, on the other hand, to the other services

(iii) when neither direct nor indirect measures of cost allocation can be found, the cost category shall be allocated on the basis of a general allocator computed by using the ratio of all expenses directly or indirectly assigned or allocated, on the one hand, to each of the reserved services and, on the other hand, to the other services.

Justification

The maintenance of a reserved area for postal services justifies the maintenance of current text of Art 14(3), introducing paragraph, and Art 14(3)(iii) of Directive 97/67/EC. The reference to "products" in paragraph 3(a) is redundant as the corresponding Commission word (i.e. Art 14, paragraph 2) has been deleted.

Amendment 50

ARTICLE 1, POINT 15
Article 14, paragraph 8 (Directive 97/67/EC)

8. Where a given Member State has not established a financing mechanism for universal service provision, as permitted under Article 7, and where the national regulatory authority is satisfied that none of the designated universal service providers in that Member State is in receipt of State assistance, hidden or otherwise, and that competition in the market is fully effective, the national regulatory authority may decide not to apply the requirements of this Article. The national regulatory authority shall inform the Commission in advance of taking any such decision.

8. Where a given Member State has not reserved any of the services reservable under Article 7 and has not established a compensation fund for universal service provision, as permitted under Article 9(4), and where the national regulatory authority is satisfied that none of the designated universal service providers in that Member State is in receipt of State assistance, hidden or otherwise, and that competition in the market is fully effective, the national regulatory authority may decide not to apply the requirements of this Article. The national regulatory authority shall inform the Commission in advance of taking any such decision.

Justification

Text from Directive 97/67/EC is reinstated, but the Commission's text "and that competition in the market is fully effective" is kept to take account of the situation in countries where full liberalisation has already taken place or could take place in the future.

Amendment 51

ARTICLE 1 POINT 16
Article 19, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Member States shall ensure that transparent, simple and inexpensive procedures are made available by undertakings providing postal services for dealing with postal users' complaints, particularly in cases involving loss, theft, damage or non-compliance with service quality standards (including procedures for determining where responsibility lies in cases where more than one operator is involved).

Member States shall ensure that transparent, simple and inexpensive procedures are made available by universal service provider(s) and by undertakings providing other postal services for dealing with postal users' complaints, particularly in cases involving loss, theft, damage or non-compliance with service quality standards (including procedures for determining where responsibility lies in cases where more than one operator is involved).

Justification

The amendment takes account of the maintenance of a reserved area. Complaining procedures should be made available both by universal service provider(s) and by undertakings providing other postal services.

Amendment 52

ARTICLE 1 POINT 16
Article 19, paragraph 4 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Without prejudice to other possibilities of appeal or means of redress under national and Community legislation, Member States shall ensure that users, acting individually or, where permitted by national law, jointly with organisations representing the interests of users and/or consumers, may bring before the competent national authority cases where users' complaints to undertakings providing services within the scope of the universal service have not been satisfactorily resolved.

Without prejudice to other possibilities of appeal or means of redress under national and Community legislation, Member States shall ensure that users, acting individually or, where permitted by national law, jointly with organisations representing the interests of users and/or consumers, may bring before the competent national authority cases where users' complaints to universal service provider(s) or to undertakings providing services within the scope of the universal service have not been satisfactorily resolved.

Justification

The amendment takes account of the maintenance of a reserved area. Appeal procedures or other means of redress must be available should a complaint to (a) universal service provider(s) or to undertakings providing services within the scope of the universal service have not been satisfactorily resolved.

Amendment 53

ARTICLE 1, POINT 21
Article 23 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Every three years, on the first occasion no later than 31 December 2011, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Directive, including the appropriate information about developments in the sector, particularly concerning economic, social, employment patterns and technological aspects, as well as about quality of service. The report shall be accompanied where appropriate by proposals to the European Parliament and the Council.

Without prejudice to Article 7, every three years, on the first occasion no later than 31 December 2011, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Directive, including the appropriate information about developments in the sector, particularly concerning economic, social, employment patterns and technological aspects, as well as about quality of service. The report shall be accompanied where appropriate by proposals to the European Parliament and the Council.

Justification

The reports in this article are without prejudice to the prospective study and the report to be prepared by the Commission, both provided for in Article 7.

Amendment 54

ARTICLE 1, POINT 21 A (new)
Article 23 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(21a) The following Article 23a is inserted:

 

'Article 23a

 

The provisions of this Directive shall be without prejudice to Member States’ competence in relation to labour law, including any legal or contractual provision concerning employment conditions, working conditions, health and safety at work and the relationship between employers and workers, which Member States apply in accordance with national law in compliance with Community law. Accordingly Member States may take measures to provide for decent working conditions in the postal sector.'

Justification

Given the importance of working conditions for those employed in the postal sector and the need to avoid a serious decrease in the working conditions, it is appropriate to underline that this Directive does not hinder Member States to actively regulate and safeguard the working conditions including those of the employees in the postal sector in accordance with their national legislation. It should also be clarified that the obligation of the Commission to include in its report under Article 23 social and employment patterns does not create a Community competence in this specific sector.

Amendment 55

ARTICLE 1, POINT 22

Article 26 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(22) Article 26 is deleted.

deleted

Justification

Given that, without prejudice to more liberal measures maintained or introduced by Member States as provided for in Article 26, compulsory full liberalisation has been postponed to a later date, it is appropriate to maintain this Article.

Amendment 56

ARTICLE 1, POINT 23
Article 27 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(23) Article 27 is deleted.

(23) Article 27 is replaced by the following:

 

'Article 27

 

The provisions of this Directive, with the exception of Article 26, shall expire on 31 December 2011 unless otherwise decided in accordance with Article 7(3). The authorisation procedures described in Article 9 shall not be affected by this date.'

Justification

Given that, without prejudice to more liberal measures maintained or introduced by Member States as provided for in Article 26, compulsory full liberalisation has been postponed to a later date, it is appropriate to maintain this Article. The new expiration date foresees a time-frame for the Commission to prepare the prospective study and the subsequent report and for the European Parliament and for the Council to take a decision on full liberalisation of the postal sector which is identical to that included in the original Directive.

PROCEDURE

Title

Accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

References

COM(2006)0594 - C6-0354/2006 - 2006/0196(COD)

Committee responsible

TRAN

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

EMPL

14.11.2006

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Stephen Hughes

22.11.2006

 

 

Discussed in committee

1.3.2007

11.4.2007

 

 

Date adopted

12.4.2007

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

27

15

4

Members present for the final vote

Jan Andersson, Alexandru Athanasiu, Edit Bauer, Jean-Luc Bennahmias, Iles Braghetto, Philip Bushill-Matthews, Milan Cabrnoch, Alejandro Cercas, Ole Christensen, Derek Roland Clark, Luigi Cocilovo, Jean Louis Cottigny, Harald Ettl, Richard Falbr, Carlo Fatuzzo, Roger Helmer, Stephen Hughes, Karin Jöns, Ona Juknevičienė, Jan Jerzy Kułakowski, Jean Lambert, Raymond Langendries, Bernard Lehideux, Thomas Mann, Ana Mato Adrover, Maria Matsouka, Mary Lou McDonald, Csaba Őry, José Albino Silva Peneda, Jean Spautz, Anne Van Lancker, Gabriele Zimmer

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Jean Marie Beaupuy, Udo Bullmann, Françoise Castex, Marian Harkin, Richard Howitt, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Sepp Kusstatscher, Peter Liese, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Georgios Toussas, Anja Weisgerber, Glenis Willmott

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Ambroise Guellec, Ingeborg Gräßle

(1)

Not yet published in OJ.


OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (8.5.2007)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 97/67/EC concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

(COM(2006)0594 – C6‑0354/2006 – 2006/0196(COD))

Draftsman: Hannes Swoboda

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

1. The present legal situation with exclusive and special rights in the postal services is for many citizens and SME´s an appropriate solution for postal services of high quality. If another step in liberalisation is taken it must be taken with care and only after thorough preparation on the national level and under guidance by the EU-Commission. In the opinion of the draftsman it is necessary to keep postal services standards at the same level without negative changes that could affect individual consumers. High standards of postal services are essential to all economic and social activities within internal market. The draftsman supports securing the maintenance and positive evolution of the universal postal service on the one hand and the improvement of the quality of the service on the other, including speed and reliability. It is necessary to ensure the best and most cost effective postal services for citizens and business throughout the European Union.

2. Nevertheless, our draftsman is of the opinion that some Members States especially some who joined the EU recently are not yet fully prepared to totally open up of their postal markets in 2009 due to the complexity of the issue, i.e. the involvement of market, social, cohesion and employment aspects, as well as substantial geographic, market, consumer-related differences among. Therefore, the target date (2009) envisaged in the original directive is not appropriate. The draftsman proposes to defer total postal market liberalisation until 1 January 2011. It is more appropriate to postpone the implementation of the directive for the period of two years rather than keep the very tight timetable which could raise the risk that some Member States will not be able to comply with it and guarantee a viable universal service. Delaying the process will give more time to adapt better to the proposed changes and consumers' and users' needs.

In order to maintain the universal service provisions at the high level and to ensure that it is consistent with the required standards, the draftsman proposes that each Member State should establish by 31 December 2008 with a detailed study fully describing financing of the universal service. The detailed plan presented by each Member State should be a precondition of fully opening up the postal market. It should include adequate measures which each Member State plans to take, how the Member State will secure the continuity of the universal service by maintaining the quality of services and how the universal service obligations will be financed. Each Member state should also present restructuring measures affecting employment in traditional postal operators following full liberalisation.

The Commission proposal gives Member States a choice regarding the means to finance universal service obligations. Member States should decide which model best suits their needs among: state aid, public procurement, compensation fund and cost sharing. In the study to be delivered by each Member State the choices among those proposed by the Commission and other financing measures in compliance with EC law should be presented and explained in details.

Based on the national plans and taken into account the situation of the postal market in Member State where the market is already open, the Commission shall carry out a study which will assess the impact of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2011. The Commission should also submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council if the 2011 is appropriate date for a full accomplishment of the postal internal market. If the date is not appropriate, the Commission should submit, together with the report, the relevant legislative proposal.

3. Individual consumers and SMEs are the most vulnerable segment to market forces; therefore it is important to include a safeguard clause for them and one of them could be the maintenance of the uniform tariff system. It is necessary that Member States ensure the affordability of postal costs guaranteed by the universal services obligations. It is also necessary that Member States maintain the single tariff which is equal irrespective of distance of the addressee for items of particular importance for individual consumers' interest. The maintenance of the single tariffs contributes to social and economical cohesion. It is important that rural and remote areas will not be negatively affected by significant changes brought by an open postal market. Mail must be collected and delivered to these areas without interruption.

4. Universal service is an obligation and might be a burden for universal service providers; therefore it is necessary to apply adequate measures to ensure high level universal service to citizens. It is also important for Member States to choose the best way of financing which is most appropriate for them including the ones proposed by the Commission proposal as well as other ways of financing in compliance with EC law.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Text proposed by the Commission(1)  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

RECITAL 3 A (NEW)

 

(3a) The positive role of services of general economic interest is emphasised by Special Eurobarometer 219 of October 2005, which indicates that postal services are the services of general economic interest that are the most appreciated by users throughout the European Union, with 77% of people questioned responding positively .

Justification

It is necessary to put the stress on the high degree of satisfaction of postal users in the European Union.

Amendment 2

RECITAL 6

(6) The European Parliament Resolution of 2 February 2006 highlighted the social and economic importance of efficient postal services and their important role in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, indicating that reform measures undertaken so far have brought about significant positive developments in the postal sector, along with increased quality, more efficiency and better customer-orientation.

(6) The European Parliament Resolution of 2 February 2006 highlighted the social and economic importance of efficient postal services and their important role in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, indicating that reform measures undertaken so far have brought about significant positive developments in the postal sector, along with increased quality, more efficiency and better customer-orientation.

 

In view of the sometimes very divergent development of universal service obligations in the Member States, the European Parliament has requested the Commission to concentrate its efforts, when drawing up its prospective study, on the quality of universal service provision and its future financing, and as part of the study to propose a definition of universal service, its scope and appropriate financing.

Justification

It is necessary to keep in mind Parliament’s very precise requests to the Commission in its resolution of 2 February 2006 on the implementation of the postal directive as the Commission begins work on its prospective study.

Amendment 3

RECITAL 7

(7) In accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, a prospective study assessing, for each Member State, the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2009 has been carried out. The Commission has also undertaken a thorough review of the Community postal sector, including the commissioning of studies on the economic, social and technological developments in the sector, and has consulted extensively with interested parties.

(7) In accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, a prospective study assessing, for each Member State, the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2009 has been carried out. The Commission has also undertaken a review of the Community postal sector, including the commissioning of studies on the economic, social and technological developments in the sector, and has consulted extensively with interested parties.

 

However, in order to reach a full understanding of all the consequences of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market for employment and social and territorial cohesion broader consultation of interested parties is needed.

Justification

Given the implications of the full market opening in the postal sector, the Commission should make a thorough study if the impact of liberalisation on employment and social and territorial cohesion.

Amendment 4

RECITAL 8

(8) According to the prospective study the basic aim of safeguarding the sustainable provision of a universal service matching the standard of quality defined by the Member States in accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, can be secured throughout the Community by 2009 without the need for a reserved area.

(8) According to the prospective study, in particular the developments in alternative financing methods, the basic aim of safeguarding the sustainable provision of a universal service matching the standard of quality defined by the Member States in accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, cannot be secured throughout the Community by 2009 without a reserved area for those Member States where this financing is still necessary.

Justification

The reserved area should not be excluded of the financing of the universal service obligations as long as the Commission has note made a complete study in the financing methods.

Amendment 5

RECITAL 9

(9) The progressive and gradual opening of postal markets to competition has provided universal service providers with sufficient time to put in place the necessary modernisation and restructuring measures required to ensure their long-term viability under the new market conditions, and enabled Member States to adapt their regulatory systems to a more open environment. Member States may furthermore avail themselves of the opportunity offered by the period of transposition, as well as the substantial time necessary for the introduction of effective competition, to proceed with further modernisation and restructuring of the universal service providers as necessary.

(9) The progressive and gradual opening of postal markets to competition has not provided all universal service providers with sufficient time to put in place the necessary modernisation and restructuring measures required to ensure their long-term viability under the new market conditions, and has not enabled all Member States to adapt their regulatory systems to a more open environment. Given the time necessary for the introduction of a level playing field and for proceeding with further modernisation and restructuring of the universal service providers, Member States may avail themselves of the opportunity offered by a postponement of the date of full accomplishment of the internal market.

 

Due to the complexity of this process, which has market, social, cohesion and employment aspects and must also address substantial geographic, market and consumer-related differences among Member States, the level of preparedness by Member States still varies significantly. It is therefore appropriate to set 1 January 2012 as the final date for completion of the internal market for postal services.

Justification

The reserved area should not be excluded of the financing of the universal service obligations as long as the Commission has note made a complete study in the financing methods.

Due to the complexity of the issue full market opening would pose social, cohesion and employment risk, therefore it should be delayed. Contrary to the Commission proposal it is more appropriate to include the new date into Recital 9 than into Recital 10.

Amendment 6

RECITAL 10

(10) The prospective study shows that the reserved area should no longer be the preferred solution for the financing of the universal service. This assessment takes into account the interest of the Community and its Member States in the accomplishment of the internal market and its potential for delivering growth and employment, as well as ensuring the availability of an efficient service of general economic interest for all users. It is therefore appropriate to confirm the date of 1 January 2009 as the final step in the accomplishment of the internal market for postal services.

(10) The prospective study shows that the reserved area should no longer be the preferred solution for the financing of the universal service. This assessment takes into account the interest of the Community and its Member States in the completion of the internal market and its potential for delivering growth and employment, as well as ensuring the availability of an efficient service of general economic interest for all users. Nevertheless the very sensitive nature of the supply of postal services and the high symbolic value of these services of general economic interest call for careful preparation of the next steps in opening up the market.

Justification

Full market opening should be delayed. It is, however, more appropriate to include the suggested date in Recital 9; Recital 9 is therefore amended accordingly.

Amendment 7

RECITAL 12

(12) Complete market-opening will help to expand the overall size of the postal markets; it will further contribute to maintaining sustainable and quality employment within universal service providers as well as facilitating the creation of new jobs in other operators, new entrants and associated economic activities. The present Directive is without prejudice to the competence of Member States to regulate employment conditions in the postal services sector.

(12) Progressive opening up of the market can, if carefully prepared, help to expand the overall size of the postal markets; it can further contribute, under conditions ensuring competitive neutrality, to maintaining sustainable and quality employment within universal service providers as well as facilitating the creation of new jobs in other operators, new entrants and associated economic activities. The present Directive is without prejudice to the competence of Member States to regulate employment conditions in the postal services sector which should not, however, lead to unfair competition. Social considerations, with particular regard to the staff previously engaged in providing postal services, shall be taken into due account when preparing the opening up of the postal market.

Justification

Market opening has to be carried out carefully; especially different employment conditions between the postal service providers should not lead to unfair competition.

Amendment 8

RECITAL 17

(17) In the light of the studies carried out and with a view to unlocking the full potential of the internal market for postal services, it is appropriate to end the use of the reserved area and special rights as a way of ensuring the financing of the universal service.

(17) In the light of the studies carried out and with a view to ensuring the long-term financing of the universal service while unlocking the full potential of the internal market for postal services, it is appropriate to maintain the use of the reserved area and special rights as a way of ensuring the financing of the universal service for those Member States that deem it necessary.

Justification

The reserved area should not be excluded of the financing of the universal service obligations as long as the Commission has note made a complete study in the financing methods.

Amendment 9

RECITAL 18

(18) The external financing of the residual net costs of universal service may still be necessary for some Member States. It is therefore appropriate to explicitly clarify the alternatives available to ensure the financing of the universal service, to the extent that this is needed and is adequately justified, while leaving Member States the choice of the financing mechanisms to be used. These alternatives include the use of public procurement procedures and, whenever universal service obligations entail net costs of universal service and represent an unfair burden for the designated undertaking, public compensation and cost sharing between service providers and/or users in a transparent fashion by means of contributions to a compensation fund. Member States may use other means of financing permitted by Community Law, such as deciding that the profits accruing from other activities of the universal service providers outside the scope of the universal service are to be assigned in whole or in part to the financing of the net costs of the universal service, as long as they are compatible with the present Directive.

(18) The external financing of the residual net costs of universal service may still be necessary for some Member States. It is therefore appropriate to explicitly clarify prior to full opening up of the market the alternatives available to ensure the financing of the universal service, to the extent that this is needed and is adequately justified, while leaving Member States the choice of the financing mechanisms to be used. These alternatives include the use of public procurement procedures and, whenever universal service obligations entail net costs of universal service and represent an unfair burden for the designated undertaking, public compensation and cost sharing between service providers and/or users in a transparent fashion by means of contributions to a compensation fund. Member States may use other means of financing permitted by Community Law, such as deciding that the profits accruing from other activities of the universal service providers outside the scope of the universal service are to be assigned in whole or in part to the financing of the net costs of the universal service, as long as they are compatible with the present Directive.

Justification

Before full market opening the available alternatives regarding the financing of the Universal Services have to be clear.

Amendment 10

RECITAL 24 A (NEW)

 

(24a) On the other hand, it is necessary for the provision by universal service providers of services for businesses, bulk mailers and consolidators of mail from different customers to enjoy more flexible tariff conditions.

Justification

It is necessary to adapt the tariff principles applicable to universal service provider to the growing liberalisation of the sector.

This progressive liberalisation must go hand in hand with the necessary tariff flexibility for the universal service provider, so that it can face competition and adapt to market needs.

Amendment 11

RECITAL 27

(27) In line with existing rules in other service areas and in order to enhance consumer protection, it is appropriate to extend the application of minimum principles concerning complaint procedures beyond universal service providers. With a view to increase the effectiveness of complaint handling procedures, it is appropriate that the Directive encourages the use of out-of-court settlement procedures as set out in Commission Recommendation 98/257/EC of 30 March 1998 on the principles applicable to the bodies responsible for out-of court settlement of consumer disputes and Commission Recommendation of 4 April 2001 on the principle for out-of-court bodies involved in the consensual resolution of consumer disputes . Consumer interests would also be furthered through the enhanced inter-operability between operators resulting from access to certain elements of infrastructure and services, and the requirement for cooperation between national regulatory authorities and consumer protection bodies.

(27) In line with existing rules in other service areas and in order to enhance consumer protection, it is appropriate to extend the application of minimum principles concerning complaint procedures beyond universal service providers. With a view to increase the effectiveness of complaint handling procedures, it is appropriate that the Directive encourages the use of out-of-court settlement procedures as set out in Commission Recommendation 98/257/EC of 30 March 1998 on the principles applicable to the bodies responsible for out-of court settlement of consumer disputes and Commission Recommendation of 4 April 2001 on the principle for out-of-court bodies involved in the consensual resolution of consumer disputes. Consumer interests would also be furthered through the enhanced inter-operability between operators resulting from access to certain elements of infrastructure and services, and the requirement for cooperation between national regulatory authorities and consumer protection bodies. In order to protect the interests of postal users in the event of the theft or loss of or damage to postal items, Member States shall introduce a system of reimbursement and/or compensation.

Justification

In a multi-operator environment, the operators could blame each other in case of loss of late delivery. The best way nevertheless to guarantee consumers satisfaction in the postal sector is to protect consumers’ interests in case of theft, loss or damage of post items. The best protection is to introduce a system of reimbursement and/or compensation for all postal items.

Amendment 12

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (-A) (new)

Article 2, point 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(-a) point 2 is replaced by the following:

 

'2. universal service providers’ postal network: the system of organisation and resources of all kinds provided by the universal service provider(s) for the purposes in particular of:

 

- the clearance of postal items covered by a universal service obligation from access points located in the territory for which the universal service provider(s) has/have been designated,

 

- the routing and handling of those items from the postal network access point to the distribution centre,

 

- distribution to all addressees shown on items;'

Justification

If the provision of different elements of the universal service can be entrusted to one or more universal service providers (see article 4 as modified by the proposal), whose public or private status is indifferent, it is not coherent to keep referring to the “public” postal network. It is best suited to refer to the universal service provider’s network.

The possibility of designating one or more universal service providers for different parts of the territory must be taken into account in this definition.

Amendment 13

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (-A A) (new)

Article 2, point 3 (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(-aa) point 3 is amended as follows:

 

'3. access points: physical facilities, including letter boxes provided for the public either on the public highway or at the premises of the universal service provider, where postal items may be deposited with the universal service providers’ postal network by customers;'

Justification

If the provision of different elements of the universal service can be entrusted to one or more universal service providers (see article 4 as modified by the proposal), whose public or private status is indifferent, it is not coherent to keep referring to the “public” postal network. It is best suited to refer to the universal service provider’s network.

The possibility of designating one or more universal service providers for different parts of the territory must be taken into account in this definition.

Amendment 14

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (A)

Article 2, point 6 (Directive 97/67/EC)

'6. postal item: an item addressed in the final form in which it is to be carried by a postal service provider. In addition to items of correspondence, such items also include for instance books, catalogues, newspapers, periodicals and postal packages containing merchandise with or without commercial value;'

'6. postal item: an item addressed in the final form in which it is to be carried by a postal service provider. In addition to items of correspondence, such items also include direct mail, books, catalogues, newspapers, periodicals and postal packages containing merchandise with or without commercial value;'

Justification

It is appropriate to maintain the reference and definition of direct mail, as it acknowledges the specificity of this particular mail market.

Amendment 15

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (B)

Article 2, point 8 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(b) point 8 is deleted

deleted

Justification

The definition of direct mail is still useful if the reserved area is maintained.

In addition, maintaining the definition of direct mail reflects thoroughly the acknowledgment of the specificities of this particular postal market. Indeed, direct mail constitutes a distinct mail market, with its particular characteristics, actors and price flexibility.

Amendment 16

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (C)

Article 2, point 20 (Directive 97/67/EC)

'20. services provided at single piece tariff: postal services for which the tariff is set in the general terms and conditions of universal service providers for the transport of individual postal items.'

'20. services provided at single piece tariff: postal services for individual postal items for which the tariff is set in the general terms and conditions of universal service providers.'

Justification

Amendment consisting in clarifying which are the postal services provided for single piece items in exchange of the single piece tariff. Indeed, the single piece tariff pays for the provision of the whole postal chain: clearance, sorting, transport and delivery.

Amendment 17

ARTICLE 1, POINT 4

Article 4 (Directive 97/67/EC)

1. Each Member State shall that the provision of the universal service is guaranteed and shall notify the Commission of the steps it has taken to fulfil this obligationThe Committee established under Article 21 shall be informed and monitor the evolution of the measures established by Member States to ensure the provision of the universal service.

1. Each Member State shall that the provision of the universal service is guaranteed and shall notify the Commission of the steps it has taken to fulfil this obligationThe Committee established under Article 21 shall be informed and monitor the evolution of the measures established by Member States to ensure the provision of the universal service.

 

1a. Without prejudice to Article 3, each Member State shall in cooperation with the national regulatory authority and interested parties, including consumer organisations and businesses especially dependent on the quality of postal services, define delivery times, collection and delivery frequency and the security and reliability of the universal service.

2. Member States may choose to designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers for a part or all of the national territory and for different elements of universal service. When they do so, they shall determine in accordance with Community law the obligations and rights assigned to them and shall publish these obligations and rights. In particular Member States shall take measures to ensure that the conditions under which universal services are entrusted are based on objective, non–discriminatory, proportionate and least market distortion principles, and that the designation of undertakings as universal service providers is limited in time. Member States shall notify the identity of the universal service provider(s) they designate to the Commission.

2. Member States may choose to designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers for a part or all of the national territory and for different elements of universal service. When they do so, they shall determine in accordance with Community law the obligations and rights assigned to them and shall publish these obligations and rights. In particular Member States shall take measures to ensure that the conditions under which universal services are entrusted are based on objective, non–discriminatory, proportionate and least market distortion principles, and that the designation of undertakings as universal service providers is limited in time. Member States shall notify the identity of the universal service provider(s) they designate to the Commission.

 

2a. Member States may require a designated universal service provider to offer to staff previously engaged in providing the services the rights that they would have enjoyed if a transfer had occurred within the meaning of Directive 77/187/EEC. The national regulatory authority shall list the staff and give details of their contractual rights. Member States shall notify the identity of the universal service provider(s) they designate to the Commission.

 

2b. Where A Member State has already designated an undertaking as universal service provider, in compliance with Community law in force at the time of the designation, the obligations set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be deemed fulfilled, provided that the Member State in question has notified the identity of the universal service provider to the Commission.

Amendment 18

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8

Article 7 (Directive 97/67/EC)

1. With effect from 1 January 2009 Member States shall not grant or maintain in force exclusive or special rights for the establishment and the provision of postal services. Member States may finance the provision of universal services in accordance with one or more of the means provided for in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, or in accordance with any other means compatible with the EC Treaty.

1. Subject to the Commission's confirmation, as provided for in the second subparagraph, with effect from 1 January 2012 Member States shall not grant or maintain in force exclusive or special rights for the establishment and the provision of postal services. Member States may finance the provision of universal services in accordance with one or more of the means provided for in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, or in accordance with any other means compatible with the EC Treaty.

 

Member States shall submit a detailed national plan to the Commission by 31 December 2009 coverning (i) the measures they intend to take or have already taken in order to guarantee the universal service (ii) the methods they intend to use to finance the universal service obligation. On the basis of the national plans and taking into account the situation of the postal market in Member States where the market is already open, the Commission shall carry out a study to assess the impact of completing the internal market for postal services in 2012. On the basis of its conclusions, the Commission shall by 1 July 2010 submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council confirming the date of 2012 for completion of the internal market for postal services or setting out the further steps that must first be taken. Should the Commission conclude that 2012 is not an appropriate date for completion of the internal market for postal services, it shall submit, together with its report, a legislative proposal.

 

For the purpose of this Article the net cost of the universal service obligation is to be calculated, under the responsibility of the national regulatory authorities, as the difference between the net costs for a given undertaking operating with the universal service obligation and without it. The difference in costs shall include all other relevant elements, including any market benefits which accrue to an undertaking designated to provide a universal service, entitlement to a reasonable profit and incentives for cost efficiency.

2. Member States may ensure the provision of universal services by procuring such services in accordance with applicable public procurement rules.

 

3. Where a Member State determines that the universal service obligations, as provided for by this Directive, entail a net cost and represent an unfair financial burden for the universal service provider(s), it may:

 

(a) Introduce a mechanism to compensate the undertaking(s) concerned from public funds;

 

(b) Share the net cost of universal service obligations between providers of services and/or users.

 

4. Where the net cost is shared under paragraph 3(b), Member States may establish a compensation fund which may be funded by service providers' and/or users' fees, and is administered for this purpose by a body independent of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. Only those services set out in Article 3 may be financed in this way.

 

 

4a. Member States may use other means of financing permitted by Community Law.

Member States shall ensure that the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and proportionality are respected in establishing the compensation fund and when fixing the level of the financial contributions referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4. Decisions taken under paragraphs 3 and 4 shall be based on objective and verifiable criteria and be made public.'

 

 

5a. As a provisional measure, until the full opening up of the postal market in a given Member State takes places, where that Member State considers that none of the abovementioned means ensures on durable and viable basis the financing of the net costs entailed by the provision of the universal service, it may continue to maintain the reserved area with the current conditions and weight limits.

Amendment 19

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8 A (new)

Article 8 (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(8a) Article 8 is replaced by the following:

 

'Article 8

 

The provisions of Article 7 shall be without prejudice to Member States’ right to:

 

- enact specific provisions based on objective, proportionate and non-discriminatory criteria, applicable to universal service providers that are necessary for providing the universal service.

 

- organise the siting of letter boxes on the public highway, the issue of postage stamps and the registered mail service used in the course of judicial or administrative procedures in accordance with their national legislation in order to provide universal service.'

Justification

It is appropriate to allow Member States to enact specific provisions in favour of universal service providers, needed for the effective provision of the universal service. Universal service providers benefit in different national legislations from certain specific provisions (for instance concerning transport legislation, exceptions to rules such as trucks not allowed to roll on Sundays) allowing them to provide the universal service in the terms specified by their member state.

Amendment 20

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10

Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2, introductory part (Directive 97/67/EC)

The granting of authorisations may:

Whenever Member States designate one or more undertakings as universal service provider(s) in accordance with Article 4(2), the granting of authorisations to such undertakings may:

Amendment 21

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10

Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2, indent 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

– if necessary, impose requirements concerning the quality, availability and performance of the relevant services,

– if necessary, impose requirements concerning the quality, availability and performance of the relevant services; provided that they are compatible with Community law and are indicated in the notice used as a means of calling for competition or in specifications, these requirements may relate in particular to social and environmental standards,

Justification

It is necessary to explicitly allow Member States to introduce particular requirements, such as social or environmental requirements, in conformity with the 2004 Directives on public procurement Furthermore, it is necessary to insure the protection of workers in case the activities of a universal service operator is transferred to another operator.

Amendment 22

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10

Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2, indent 3 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

– be made subject to an obligation to offer to staff previously engaged in providing the services the rights that they would have enjoyed if a transfer had occurred within the meaning of Directive 77/187/EEC. The authority shall list the staff and give details of their contractual rights.

Justification

Member States should be allowed to opt for a licensing system that includes other elements that are national specific. Furthermore, Member States should have the possibility to oblige an operator to offer to staff previously engaged the rights that they would have enjoyed if a transfer had occurred within the meaning of Directive 77/187/EEC.

Amendment 23

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10

Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

The granting of authorisations to service providers other than designated universal service providers may where appropriate, be made subject to an obligation to make a financial contribution to the sharing mechanism referred to in Article 7.

 

Undertakings may choose between an obligation to contribute to the sharing mechanism or to comply with a universal service obligation.

Amendment 24

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10 A (new)

Article 9 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(10a) The following Article 9a is inserted:

 

'Article 9a

 

This Directive does not affect the responsibility of the Member States to regulate working conditions in the postal sector.

 

In particular, Member States may take all necessary steps, in accordance with their national law, to create conditions of fair competition between postal service providers.'

Justification

Besides ensuring fair competition within the postal service sector of the Member States, one also has to provide for minimum standards in terms of social security for the employees in this sector.

Amendment 25

ARTICLE 1, POINT 12

Article 11 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(12) In Article 11, 'Articles 57(2), 66 and 100a' is replaced by 'Articles 47(2), 55 and 95'.

(12) Article 11 is replaced by the following:

 

'Article 11

 

The European Parliament and the Council, acting on a proposal from the Commission and on the basis of Articles 47(2), 55 and 95 of the Treaty, shall adopt such harmonisation measures as are necessary to ensure that users have access to the universal service providers' postal network under conditions which are transparent and non-discriminatory.'

Justification

Amendment taking into account the new definition of the postal network (art. 2 point 2 of the 97/67/EC directive.

Amendment 26

ARTICLE 1, POINT 13

Article 11 a (Directive 97/67/EC)

Whenever necessary to protect the interest of users and/or to promote effective competition, and in the light of national conditions, Member States shall ensure that transparent and non-discriminatory access conditions are available to the following elements of postal infrastructure or services: postcode system, address database, post office boxes, collection and delivery boxes, information on change of address, re-direction service, return to sender service.

Whenever necessary to protect the interest of users and/or to promote fair and effective competition, and in the light of national conditions, Member States shall ensure that transparent and non-discriminatory access conditions are available to the following elements of postal infrastructure or services: postcode system, address database, post office boxes, collection and delivery boxes, information on change of address, re-direction service, return to sender service.

Justification

Competition must be fair and in full accordance with EC competition rules.

Amendment 27

ARTICLE 1, POINT 14, POINT (B)

Article 12, indent 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

'- prices must be cost-oriented and stimulate efficiency gains; whenever necessary for reasons relating to the public interest, Member States may decide that a uniform tariff should be applied throughout their national territory and/or to the territories of other Member States, to services provided at single piece tariff and to other items,'

'- prices must be cost-oriented and stimulate efficiency gains; whenever necessary for reasons relating to the public interest, Member States may decide that a uniform tariff should be applied throughout their national territory and/or to the territories of other Member States, for example, to services provided at single piece tariff and to other items,'

Justification

The Commission underlines in the explanatory memorandum the possibility for Member States to impose uniform tariffs based on public interest reasons specific to each Member State. The addition goes in that direction.

Amendment 28

ARTICLE 1, POINT 14, POINT (C)

Article 12, indent 5 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(c) The last sentence of the fifth indent is replaced by the following:

(c) The fifth indent is replaced by the following:

'Any such tariffs shall also be available to customers who post under similar conditions,'

'- whenever universal service providers apply special tariffs, for example for services for businesses, bulk mailers or consolidators of mail from different customers, they shall apply the principles of transparency and non-discrimination with regard both to the tariffs and to the associated conditions. Any such tariffs shall also be available to any other customers, in particular individual costumers and SMEs, who post under similar conditions,'

Amendment 29

ARTICLE 1, POINT 15

Article 14, paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

2. The universal service providers shall keep separate accounts within their internal accounting systems to clearly distinguish between services and products which receive or contribute to the financial compensation for the net costs of the universal service and those services and products which do not. This accounting separation shall allow Member States to calculate the net cost of the universal service. Such internal accounting systems shall operate on the basis of consistently applied and objectively justifiable cost accounting principles.

2. The universal service providers shall keep separate accounts within their internal accounting systems to clearly distinguish between services and products which are part of the universal service and receive or contribute to the financial compensation for the net costs of the universal service on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the services and products which are not. Such internal accounting systems shall operate on the basis of consistently applied and objectively justifiable cost accounting principles.

Justification

Clarifying amendment.

Amendment 30

ARTICLE 1, POINT 15

Article 14, paragraph 3 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

3a. Where a Member State continues to reserve certain services as provided for in Article 7 (5a), the universal service provider shall keep separate accounts within its internal accounting system at least for each of the services within the reserved sector . The accounts for the non reserved services should clearly distinguish between services which are part of the universal service and services which are not. Such internal accounting systems shall operate on the basis of objectively justifiable cost accounting principles.

Justification

It seems justified to impose such accounting system to the universal service provider when it receives specific financing. For instance, it is logical to keep separate accounts as long as a reserved area is provided.

Amendment 31

ARTICLE 1, POINT 15

Article 14, paragraph 7 (Directive 97/67/EC)

7. On request, detailed accounting information arising from these systems shall be made available in confidence to the national regulatory authority and to the Commission.

7. On request, detailed accounting information arising from these systems shall be made available in confidence to the national regulatory authority and to the Commission, as provided for in Article 22(a).

Justification

It is necessary to specify the conditions under which the universal service provider must make accounting information available to the national regulatory authority, by reference to article 22 a.

Amendment 32

ARTICLE 1, POINT 16

Article 19, paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Member States shall adopt measures to ensure that the procedures referred to in the first subparagraph enable disputes to be settled fairly and promptly with provision, where warranted, for a system of reimbursement and/or compensation.

Member States shall adopt measures to ensure that the procedures referred to in the first subparagraph enable disputes to be settled fairly and promptly with provision for a system of reimbursement and/or compensation.

Justification

In order to be sure that consumers are compensated for loss and damage of postal items, a reimbursement scheme is to be provided.

Amendment 33

ARTICLE 1, POINT 20

Article 22a , paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

2. Undertakings shall provide such information promptly on request and within the timescales and to the level of detail required by the national regulatory authority. The information requested by the national regulatory authority shall be proportionate to the performance of its tasks. The national regulatory authority shall give the reasons justifying its request for information.'

2. Undertakings shall provide such information promptly on request and in confidence within the timescales and to the level of detail required by the national regulatory authority. The information requested by the national regulatory authority shall be proportionate to the performance of its tasks and shall not be used for other purposes than those for which it has been requested. The national regulatory authority shall give the reasons justifying its request for information.'

Justification

NRAs’ requests of information must happen within the limits of confidence and the exact exercise of their tasks.

Those are reasonable precautions allowing postal operators to be confident on the righteous use by NRA of the information requested.

Amendment 34

ARTICLE 1, POINT 21

Article 23 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Every three years, on the first occasion no later than 31 December 2011, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Directive, including the appropriate information about developments in the sector, particularly concerning economic, social, employment patterns and technological aspects, as well as about quality of service. The report shall be accompanied where appropriate by proposals to the European Parliament and the Council.

Every three years, on the first occasion no later than 31 December 2014, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Directive, including the appropriate information about developments in the sector, particularly concerning economic, social, employment patterns and technological aspects, as well as about quality of service. The report shall be accompanied where appropriate by proposals to the European Parliament and the Council.

Justification

To align the procedural/technical deadline to the new date of full market opening.

Amendment 35

ARTICLE 2, PARAGRAPH 1, SUBPARAGRAPH 1

Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 31 December 2008 at the latest. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions and a correlation table between those provisions and this Directive.

Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 31 December 2011 at the latest. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions and a correlation table between those provisions and this Directive.

Justification

To align the procedural/technical deadline to the new date of full market opening.

PROCEDURE

Title

Accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

References

COM(2006)0594 - C6-0354/2006 - 2006/0196(COD)

Committee responsible

TRAN

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

ITRE

14.11.2006

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Hannes Swoboda

28.11.2006

 

 

Discussed in committee

20.3.2007

3.5.2007

3.5.2007

 

Date adopted

3.5.2007

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

30

7

3

Members present for the final vote

Šarūnas Birutis, Renato Brunetta, Jerzy Buzek, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Silvia Ciornei, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Lena Ek, Nicole Fontaine, Adam Gierek, Norbert Glante, Fiona Hall, David Hammerstein, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, Mary Honeyball, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Romano Maria La Russa, Pia Elda Locatelli, Angelika Niebler, Reino Paasilinna, Miloslav Ransdorf, Vladimír Remek, Herbert Reul, Mechtild Rothe, Paul Rübig, Andres Tarand, Catherine Trautmann, Claude Turmes, Nikolaos Vakalis, Alejo Vidal-Quadras

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Etelka Barsi-Pataky, Ivo Belet, Philip Dimitrov Dimitrov, Robert Goebbels, Satu Hassi, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Erika Mann, John Purvis, Hannes Swoboda, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Zuzana Roithová

(1)

Not yet published in OJ.


OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (11.5.2007)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 97/67/EC concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

(COM(2006)0594 – C6‑0354/2006 – 2006/0196(COD))

Draftsman: Konstantinos Hatzidakis

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The Commission's proposal to amend the Postal Services Directive aims at completing the internal market on postal services while at the same time guaranteeing the provision of universal services for commercial users, SMEs and consumers. Postal Services may be portrayed as one of the cornerstones of the internal market. Their efficient functioning promotes cross-border trading within the EU, especially with respect to alternative forms of commerce, such as e-commerce.

The opening of the market should not affect in a negative manner the provision of universal services within the Member States and across the EU. On the contrary, Member States should have the possibility to select one or more universal service providers for part or the total of the national territory, as well as for the various elements of the universal services. In particular, this is more important for remote and isolated areas as well as for vulnerable consumers, such as disabled people. In parallel, Member States must guarantee that universal service provision will be based on the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and proportionality, having thus the minimum effect on the distortion of the internal market.

The proposal provides Member States with flexibility on the financing of the universal services by suggesting a variety of already established financing mechanisms in the Member States. Member States may also use a combination of these mechanisms, or even implement alternative financing methods, as long as they are in accordance with existing EU legislation. Nevertheless, some stakeholders have expressed their concerns on the inadequacy of the proposed mechanisms to safeguard the provision of universal services within an internal market. The Commission should therefore provide Member States with more detailed guidelines on the calculation of net costs and the financing methods used, in order to truly promote the internal market. Furthermore, in view of the specificities of certain Member States and the need to ensure sustainability of universal services, the Commission in cooperation with the stakeholders should guarantee a better assessment of the proposed financing mechanisms before moving forward to the full opening of the market.

The proposal moves also a step closer to consumer protection as it not only aims at safeguarding the provision of universal services, but also provides consumers with more information on the service provision, a strengthened complaint mechanism and a compensation system. However, further clarity is needed in the proposal with regards to the obligations of postal service providers towards commercial users and consumers, as well as the role of the aforementioned in the financing mechanism for universal services. Moreover, special attention should be given to consumer groups highly depended on postal services, such as blind and partially sighted.

Furthermore, the Commission attempts to clarify the role of national regulatory authorities, by providing for their continuous monitoring of the implementation of the Directive. National regulatory authorities should be in close contact with the stakeholders of the postal sector through the establishment of open, transparent and non-discriminatory mechanisms of consultation.

For the benefit of the EU market, the creation of a European regulatory authority should be considered. This would allow national regulatory authorities to exchange information on the implementation of the Directive, the technical specificities of the markets and the financing mechanisms used in the EU after transposition of the Directive.

Finally, to achieve a fully operational internal market with high quality universal services and consumer protection, it is important to maintain a uniform implementation deadline across the EU. This way, risks of imbalance in the European postal market and of jeopardising the high quality of universal services will be minimised.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Text proposed by the Commission  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

RECITAL 3 A (new)

 

(3a) According to Eurobarometer survey no. 219 of October 2005, postal services are among the services of general economic interest which the European public rates most highly, with an approval rating of 77%.

Justification

It is important to show that the postal services are appreciated by the public, and ensuring they continue to perform effectively must be one of our central concerns.

Amendment 2

RECITAL 6

(6) The European Parliament Resolution of 2 February 2006 highlighted the social and economic importance of efficient postal services and their important role in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, indicating that reform measures undertaken so far have brought about significant positive developments in the postal sector, along with increased quality, more efficiency and better customer-orientation.

 

(6) The European Parliament Resolution of 2 February 2006 highlighted the social and economic importance of efficient postal services and their important role in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, indicating that reform measures undertaken so far have brought about significant positive developments in the postal sector, along with increased quality, more efficiency and better customer-orientation. The resolution called on the Commission, in view of the sometimes perceptibly divergent developments in universal service obligations in the Member States, to concentrate in particular, when drawing up its prospective study, on the quality of provision of the universal service and on its future funding and to propose, in the context of this study, a definition, the scope and appropriate financing of the universal service.

Justification

Reference should be made to the very specific points which the Commission was asked to address, in Parliament's Resolution of 2 February 2006 on the application of the Postal Directive, as it prepared to begin work on its prospective study

Amendment 3

RECITAL 13

(13) Increased competitiveness should furthermore enable the postal sector to be integrated with alternative methods of communication and allow the quality of the service provided to ever-more demanding users to be improved.

(13) Increased competitiveness should furthermore enable the postal sector to be integrated with alternative methods of communication and allow the quality of the service provided to ever-more demanding users to be improved. Further market opening will continue to benefit particularly consumers and small and medium-sized companies, both as senders and recipients of mail, by improving quality, wider choice, passed-on price reductions, innovative services and business models.

Justification

Specific advantages for consumers should be highlighted. In particular, as mail sent by consumers and only represents a small share of the total mail (approx.10%), as compared to the remaining mail sent by business, consumer benefits should be explained both from the sending and the receiving end (often paid by the consumers either directly, e.g. bank statements, electronic commerce purchasing or indirectly).

Amendment 4

RECITAL 14 A (new)

(14a) The term 'users' includes individual consumers and commercial entities using universal services, unless otherwise stated in Directive 97/67/EC.

Justification

Clarifying the definition of the term "users" in the Directive shall assist in the adoption of a coherent vocabulary in line with the one used in the previous Postal Services Directives.

Amendment 5

RECITAL 14 B (new)

 

(14b) Universal service, as assured by this directive does guarantee, as a rule, one clearance and one delivery to the home or premises of every natural or legal person every working day also in remote or sparsely-populated areas.

Justification

It is necessary to further clarify that the directive guarantees the five days a week postal service in remote or sparsely-populated areas.

Amendment 6

RECITAL 16

(16) It is important for users to be fully informed about the universal services provided and for undertakings providing postal services to be informed about the rights and obligations of universal service provider(s). Member States shall ensure that consumers remain fully informed about the features and accessibility to the specific services provided. It is however appropriate, in coherence with the enhanced flexibility of Member States to ensure the provision of the universal service in ways other than the designation of the universal service provider(s), to allow Member States flexibility to decide how this information is made available to the public.

(16) It is important for users to be fully informed about the universal services provided and for undertakings providing postal services to be informed about the rights and obligations of universal service provider(s). Member States shall ensure that consumers remain fully informed about the features and accessibility to the specific services provided. National regulatory authorities should monitor that all such information is made available. It is however appropriate, in coherence with the enhanced flexibility of Member States to ensure the provision of the universal service in ways other than the designation of the universal service provider(s), to allow Member States flexibility to decide how this information is made available to the public.

Justification

Clarification is needed on what information should be available to the different users. However, it is important to safeguard the users' right to information, through monitoring of the national regulatory authorities.

Amendment 7

RECITAL 18

(18) The external financing of the residual net costs of universal service may still be necessary for some Member States. It is therefore appropriate to explicitly clarify the alternatives available to ensure the financing of the universal service, to the extent that this is needed and is adequately justified, while leaving Member States the choice of the financing mechanisms to be used. These alternatives include the use of public procurement procedures and, whenever universal service obligations entail net costs of universal service and represent an unfair burden for the designated undertaking, public compensation and cost sharing between service providers and/or users in a transparent fashion by means of contributions to a compensation fund. Member States may use other means of financing permitted by Community Law, such as deciding that the profits accruing from other activities of the universal service providers outside the scope of the universal service are to be assigned in whole or in part to the financing of the net costs of the universal service, as long as they are compatible with the present Directive.

(18) The external financing of the residual net costs of universal service may still be necessary for some Member States. It is therefore appropriate to explicitly clarify the alternatives available to ensure the financing of the universal service, to the extent that this is needed and is adequately justified, while leaving Member States the choice of the financing mechanisms to be used. These alternatives include the use of public procurement procedures and, whenever universal service obligations entail net costs of universal service and represent an unfair burden for the designated undertaking, public compensation and cost sharing between service providers and/or users in a transparent fashion by means of contributions to a compensation fund. Member States should exclude users of services provided at a single piece tariff from contributing to the compensation fund. These alternative financing means are sufficient to ensure the financing of any residual net costs of the universal service.

Justification

Individual consumers and SMEs should not participate in the financing of the compensation fund directly, as this may entail an unjustified burden to them for the provision of universal services. Moreover, financing the net costs of the universal service provision through profits made by the universal service provider(s) from other activities the provider(s) may pursue constitutes an unfair burden vis à vis other operators and could distort competition.

Amendment 8

RECITAL 20

(20) The principles of transparency, non-discrimination and proportionality contained in Directive 97/67/EC must continue to be applied to any financing mechanism and any decision in this area be based on transparent, objective and verifiable criteria. In particular, the net cost of universal service is to be calculated, under the responsibility of the national regulatory authority, as the difference between the net costs for a designated undertaking operating with the universal service obligations and operating without the universal service obligations. The calculation shall take into account all other relevant elements, including any market benefits which accrue to an undertaking designated to provide universal service, the entitlement to a reasonable profit and incentives for cost efficiency.

(20) The principles of transparency, non-discrimination and proportionality contained in Directive 97/67/EC must continue to be applied to any financing mechanism and any method of calculating the net cost of the universal service. Any decision in this area must be based on transparent, objective and verifiable criteria. In particular, the net cost of universal service is to be calculated, under the responsibility of the national regulatory authority, as the difference between the net costs for a designated undertaking operating with the universal service obligations and operating without the universal service obligations. The calculation shall take into account all other relevant elements, including any market benefits which accrue to an undertaking designated to provide universal service, the entitlement to a reasonable profit and incentives for cost efficiency.

Justification

It is necessary to apply the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and proportionality not only to the application of financing mechanisms of universal services, but also to the calculation of the net costs of universal services. This, combined with further clarification on the actual methods of calculating, will eventually lead to further legal certainty in national markets, without delaying the implementation and transposition of the Directive, and thus assisting in the creation of a internal market for postal services.

Amendment 9

RECITAL 22

(22) In an environment where several postal undertakings provide services within the universal service area, it is appropriate to require all Member States to assess whether some elements of the postal infrastructure or certain services generally provided by universal service providers should be made accessible to other operators providing similar services, in order to promote effective competition, and/or protect users and consumers by ensuring the overall quality of the postal service. As the legal and market situation of these elements or services is different in Member States it is appropriate to only require Member States to adopt an informed decision on the need, extent and choice of the regulatory instrument, including where appropriate on cost sharing. This provision is without prejudice to the right of Member States to adopt measures to ensure access to the public postal network under conditions of transparency and non discrimination.

(22) In an environment where several postal undertakings provide services within the universal service area, it is appropriate to require all Member States to assess whether some elements of the postal infrastructure or certain services generally provided by universal service providers should be made accessible to other operators providing similar services, in order to promote effective competition, and/or protect users by ensuring the overall quality of the postal service. As the legal and market situation of these elements or services is different in Member States it is appropriate to only require Member States to adopt an informed decision on the need, extent and choice of the regulatory instrument, including where appropriate on cost sharing. This provision is without prejudice to the right of Member States to adopt measures to ensure access to the public postal network under conditions of transparency and non discrimination.

Justification

The term 'users' includes also 'consumers', therefore using both terms could lead to misinterpretation of the Directive.

Amendment 10

RECITAL 23

(23) Given the importance of postal services for blind and partially sighted persons, it is appropriate to confirm that the process of market opening should not curtail the continuing supply of certain free services for blind and partially sighted persons introduced by the Member States in accordance with applicable international obligations.

(23) Given the importance of postal services for blind and partially sighted persons, it is appropriate to confirm that in a competitive and liberalised market there should be an obligation to supply free services for blind and partially sighted persons introduced by the Member States.

Justification

There is a need for clear wording in the revised Directive in order to achieve the continuing provision of the free postal service for blind and partially sighted people in a fully operational single postal market. Such a service should be a cross-border obligation and should not be left solely to Member States.

Amendment 11

RECITAL 25

(25) In view of the national specificities involved in the regulation of the conditions in which the incumbent universal service provider must operate in a fully competitive environment it is appropriate to leave Member States the freedom to decide how best to monitor cross-subsidies.

deleted

Amendment 12

RECITAL 25 A (new)

(25a) The Commission, after receiving sufficient information on the national postal markets from the national regulatory authorities, should issue guidance on the calculation of the net costs of universal services and on the application of the proposed financing mechanism(s), notably with regard to competition rules and State aid rules.

Justification

The Commission proposal as it currently stands does not provide sufficient guidelines to Member States, either on the calculation of the universal services' net costs, or on the financing mechanisms of the universal services. This may lead to legal uncertainty in national markets delaying the implementation and transposition of the Directive, and thus have a direct effect on the creation of an internal market for postal services.

Amendment 13

RECITAL 26 A (new)

 

(26 a) In order to increase legal certainty and to facilitate the investment decisions of all postal operators, the Commission should issue guidance on the application of the competition rules and State aid rules in the postal sector by way of an interpretative communication or other means, and also guidance on the cost allocation principles set out in Article 14(3). Moreover, cooperation between national regulatory authorities in continuing to develop benchmarks and guidelines in this area, should contribute to the harmonised application of these rules.

Justification

Monitoring State aid and cross-subsidisation under the EC Treaty is the exclusive competence of the European Commission. Allowing Member States to decide how to monitor cross-subsidisation is contrary to the system established by the Treaty. However, there is a clear need in the market for guidance from the Commission on how best to apply the competition rules (including the rules on State aid) to the postal sector. The Commission should therefore adopt a notice on the application of the competition rules (including the rules on State aid) to the postal sector. See the proposed amendment of Article 23.

Amendment 14

RECITAL 27

(27) In line with existing rules in other service areas and in order to enhance consumer protection, it is appropriate to extend the application of minimum principles concerning complaint procedures beyond universal service providers. With a view to increase the effectiveness of complaint handling procedures, it is appropriate that the Directive encourages the use of out-of-court settlement procedures as set out in Commission Recommendation 98/257/EC of 30 March 1998 on the principles applicable to the bodies responsible for out-of court settlement of consumer disputes and Commission Recommendation of 4 April 2001 on the principle for out-of-court bodies involved in the consensual resolution of consumer disputes. Consumer interests would also be furthered through the enhanced inter-operability between operators resulting from access to certain elements of infrastructure and services, and the requirement for cooperation between national regulatory authorities and consumer protection bodies.

(27) In line with existing rules in other service areas and in order to enhance consumer protection, it is appropriate to extend the application of minimum principles concerning complaint procedures beyond universal service providers. With a view to increase the effectiveness of complaint handling procedures, it is appropriate that the Directive encourages the use of out-of-court settlement procedures as set out in Commission Recommendation 98/257/EC of 30 March 1998 on the principles applicable to the bodies responsible for out-of court settlement of consumer disputes and Commission Recommendation of 4 April 2001 on the principle for out-of-court bodies involved in the consensual resolution of consumer disputes. Consumer interests would also be furthered through the enhanced inter-operability between operators resulting from access to certain elements of infrastructure and services, and the requirement for cooperation between national regulatory authorities and consumer protection bodies. If the out-of-court settlement procedure is to be feasible, the burden of proof must be reversed, so that it is the postal service providers that have to prove that they have fully met their obligations.

Amendment 15

RECITAL 32

(32) National regulatory authorities should, where necessary, coordinate their actions with the regulatory bodies of other Member States and with the Commission in carrying out their tasks under this Directive. This would promote the development of the internal market for postal services and help to achieve consistent application, in all Member States, of the provisions set out in this Directive, in particular in areas where national law implementing Community law gives national regulatory authorities considerable discretionary powers in application of the relevant rules. This cooperation could take place, inter alia, in the Committee established by Directive 97/67/EC or in a group comprising European regulators. Member States should decide which bodies are national regulatory authorities for the purposes of this Directive.

(32) National regulatory authorities should exchange best practices and coordinate their actions with the regulatory bodies of other Member States and with the Commission in carrying out their tasks under this Directive. This would promote the development of the internal market for postal services and help to achieve consistent application, in all Member States, of the provisions set out in this Directive, in particular in areas where national law implementing Community law gives national regulatory authorities considerable discretionary powers in application of the relevant rules. This cooperation could take place, inter alia, in the Committee established by Directive 97/67/EC or in a group comprising European regulators. The Commission, in its regular report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of this Directive, should examine the necessity of further developing an operational European regulatory authority for postal services. Member States should decide which bodies are national regulatory authorities for the purposes of this Directive.

Justification

The Commission should examine the competence and functioning of a European regulatory authority, as a platform for national regulatory authorities to exchange measures of administrative cooperation and benchmarking and as the European Commission's advisory body on technical issues and the better implementation and monitoring of compliance to Community legislation at the national level. Similar arrangements have been made in the case of the telecoms, financial and energy sectors.

Amendment 16

RECITAL 33

(33) National regulatory authorities need to gather information from market players in order to carry out their tasks effectively. Requests for information should be proportionate and not impose an undue burden on undertakings. Such information may also need to be gathered by the Commission, to allow it to fulfil its obligations under Community Law.

(33) National regulatory authorities need to gather information from market players in order to carry out their tasks effectively. Requests for information should be proportionate and not impose an undue burden on undertakings. Such information may also need to be gathered by the Commission, to allow it to fulfil its obligations under Community Law. Such information should be provided in due time and in confidence, where necessary, and should be used only for the purpose for which it was requested.

Justification

The request of information must, where appropriate, take place within the limits of confidentiality and the exact exercise by national regulatory authorities of their tasks. Otherwise, information provided from postal operators may be used in a manner hampering fair competition within an internal market.

Amendment 17

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (- A) (new)
Article 2, point 2) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

-a ) point 2 is replaced by the following text:

"2) 'postal network of the universal service provider(s)': the system of organisation and resources of all kinds used by the universal service provider(s) for the purposes in particular of:

— the clearance of postal items covered by a universal service obligation from access points throughout the territory for which the universal service provider(s) have been appointed

— the routing and handling of those items from the postal network access point to the distribution centre,

— distribution to the addresses shown on items;"

(Same wording as that of Directive 97/67/EC, with some additions)

Justification

As the provision of various elements of the universal service may be entrusted to one or more service providers (see amended Article 4), who may be public or private, it makes no sense to continue to consider that a public postal network exists. It is more appropriate to refer to the postal network of the universal service provider(s).

Furthermore, the possibility that several universal service providers could be appointed to cover part of the national territory should be included in this definition.

Amendment 18

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (-A A) (new)
Article 2, point 3) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

- aa) Point 3 is replaced by the following text:

3) 'access points': physical facilities, including letterboxes provided for the public, either on the public highway, or at the premises of the universal service provider(s), where postal items may be deposited with these providers;

(Same wording as that of Directive 97/67/EC, with some additions)

Justification

As the provision of various elements of the universal service may be entrusted to one or more service providers (see amended Article 4), who may be public or private, it makes no sense to continue to consider that a public postal network exists. It is more appropriate to refer to the postal network of the universal service provider(s).

Amendment 19

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (A A) (new)
Article 2, point 7) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

aa) Point 7 is replaced by the following text:

"7) 'Item of correspondence': a communication in written form, including direct mail, on any kind of physical medium to be conveyed and delivered at the address indicated by the sender on the item itself or on its wrapping. Books, catalogues, newspapers and periodicals shall not be regarded as items of correspondence;"

(Same wording as that of Directive 97/67/EC, with some additions)

Justification

The reference to direct mail gives a clear indication that the specific nature of this sector of the postal market has been recognised in the postal sector.

Amendment 20

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (B)
Article 2, point 8) (Directive 97/67/EC)

(b) point 8 is deleted

deleted

Amendment 21

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2, POINT (C)
Article 2, point 20 (Directive 97/67/CE)

20: services provided at single piece tariff: postal services for which the tariff is set in the general terms and conditions of universal service providers for the transport of individual postal items.

20: services provided at single piece tariff: postal services for which the tariff is set for the collection, sorting, transport and delivery of individual postal items.

Justification

Simplification of the current text. This provides more legal certainty. It defines the single piece tariff concept irrespective of the operator and type of activity it performs.

Amendment 22

ARTICLE 1, POINT 4

Article 4, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

1. Each Member State shall ensure that the provision of the universal service is guaranteed and shall notify the Commission of the steps it has taken to fulfil this obligation. The Committee established under Article 21 shall be informed and monitor the evolution of the measures established by Member States to ensure the provision of the universal service.

1. Each Member State shall ensure that the provision of the universal service is guaranteed and shall notify the Commission of the steps it has taken to fulfil this obligation. Each Member State shall entrust to its designated national regulatory authority or authorities the task of monitoring the detailed provision of the service. Where necessary, the relevant authority may impose provisions to guarantee the universal service according to Article 9, in consultation with interested parties. The Committee established under Article 21 shall be informed and monitor the evolution of the measures established by Member States to ensure the provision of the universal service.

Justification

Guaranteeing the provision of universal services is crucial. It is thus important for the national regulatory authorities to not only be responsible for the monitoring of the postal market, but also for guaranteeing the universal services' provision, by imposing provisions that will strengthen the establishment of an internal market for postal services.

Amendment 23

ARTICLE 1, POINT 4
Article 4, paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

2. Member States may choose to designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers for a part or all of the national territory and for different elements of universal service. When they do so, they shall determine in accordance with Community law the obligations and rights assigned to them and shall publish these obligations and rights. In particular Member States shall take measures to ensure that the conditions under which universal services are entrusted are based on objective, non–discriminatory, proportionate and least market distortion principles, and that the designation of undertakings as universal service providers is limited in time. Member States shall notify the identity of the universal service provider(s) they designate to the Commission.

2. Member States may choose to designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers for a part or all of the national territory and for different elements of universal service. When they do so, they shall determine in accordance with Community law the obligations and rights assigned to them and shall publish these obligations and rights. In particular Member States shall take measures to ensure that the conditions under which universal services are entrusted are based on objective, non–discriminatory, proportionate and least market distortion principles, without prejudice to the continuity of universal postal service, which is a guarantor of social and territorial cohesion. The Member States may require that universal service provision should extend to the whole of national territory. Member States shall notify the identity of the universal service provider(s) they designate to the Commission.

Justification

In view of the geography of certain Member States (mountain regions, sparsely populated rural areas, etc.), it may be inappropriate to issue regional calls for tender for provision of universal postal service. In fact, awarding universal service to several regional operators would undoubtedly affect the continuity of the public postal service and the quality of the service offered to consumers, as several different operators would be involved in transporting postal items, particularly as regards guaranteed delivery times.

Amendment 24

ARTICLE 1, POINT 5 A (new)
Article 5 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

5a) The following article is inserted

 

'Article 5 a

Member States may decide to make publicly available within their territory additional services to those covered under the universal service obligation.'

Justification

Adding this article makes it possible to ensure that all Member State can assign to postal operators public service tasks other than those covered by universal postal service such as newspaper transport and regional development tasks. These tasks are independent of those required under universal service and should not be financed in the same way. A similar provision is included in the electronic communications package.

Amendment 25

ARTICLE 1, POINT 6
Article 6, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Member States shall take steps to ensure that users and undertakings providing postal services are regularly given sufficiently detailed and up-to-date information regarding the particular features of the universal services offered, with special reference to the general conditions of access to these services as well as to prices and quality standard levels. This information shall be published in an appropriate manner.

Member States shall take steps to ensure that users and undertakings providing postal services are regularly given sufficiently detailed and up-to-date information from the universal service providers regarding the particular features of the universal services offered, with special reference to the general conditions of access to these services as well as to prices and quality standard levels. This information shall be published in an appropriate manner.

Amendment 26

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8

Article 7, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

1. With effect from 1 January 2009 Member States shall not grant or maintain in force exclusive or special rights for the establishment and the provision of postal services. Member States may finance the provision of universal services in accordance with one or more of the means provided for in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, or in accordance with any other means compatible with the EC Treaty.

1. With effect from 1 January 2009, Member States shall not grant or maintain in force exclusive or special rights as a means of financing the universal service. Member States may finance the provision of universal services in accordance with one or more of the means or a combination thereof provided for in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, or in accordance with any other means compatible with the EC Treaty.

Justification

The amendment clarifies the reason for the suppression of exclusive and special rights, which is not the establishment of postal services but the financing of the universal service. In addition, "postal services" is a much wider term than the term "universal services". Finally, the new wording is in line with the title of Chapter 3 (Financing of universal services) and the wording used in Recital 17.

Amendment 27

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8

Article 7, paragraph 4 (Directive 97/67/EC)

4. Where the net cost is shared under paragraph 3(b), Member States may establish a compensation fund which may be funded by service providers' and/or users' fees, and is administered for this purpose by a body independent of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. Member States may make the granting of authorisations to service providers under Article 9(2) subject to an obligation to make a financial contribution to that fund or to comply with universal service obligations. Only those services set out in Article 3 may be financed in this way.

4. Where the net cost is shared under paragraph 3(b), Member States may establish a compensation fund which may be funded by service providers' and/or users' fees, and is administered for this purpose by a body independent of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. Member States shall exclude users of services provided at a single piece tariff from contributing to the compensation fund. Member States may make the granting of authorisations to service providers under Article 9(2) subject to an obligation to make a financial contribution to that fund or to comply with universal service obligations. Only those services set out in Article 3 may be financed in this way.

Justification

Individual consumers and SMEs should not participate in the financing of the compensation fund directly, as this may entail an unjustified burden to them for the provision of universal services.

Amendment 28

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2, indent 2 (Directive 97/67/CE)

- if necessary, impose requirements concerning the quality, availability and performance of the relevant services,

- if necessary, impose requirements concerning, inter alia, the quality, availability and performance of the relevant services,

Justification

It is necessary to clarify that the Member States have the option of setting up authorisation mechanisms enabling postal service providers to choose between performing one or more universal service obligations and contributing to the funding of the performance of those obligations by the universal service provider. This would allow much greater legal certainty for Member States wishing to create “pay or play” regulation systems.

Member States should also be given the opportunity to create authorisation systems appropriate to specific national situations.

Amendment 29

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2, indent 3 a (new) (Directive 97/67/CE)

 

- authorise postal service providers to choose between having to provide one or more elements of the universal service and making a financial contribution to the sharing mechanisms referred to in Article 7 for the financing of the performance of those elements.

Justification

It is necessary to clarify that the Member States have the option of setting up authorisation mechanisms enabling postal service providers to choose between performing one or more universal service obligations and contributing to the funding of the performance of those obligations by the universal service provider. This would allow much greater legal certainty for Member States wishing to create “pay or play” regulation systems.

Member States should also be given the opportunity to create authorisation systems appropriate to specific national situations.

Amendment 30

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10
Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 3, indent 2 (Directive 97/67/CE)

– for the same quality, availability and performance requirements impose on a service provider universal service obligations and, at the same time, financial contributions to a sharing mechanism,

– for the same quality, availability and performance requirements impose on a service provider universal service obligations and, at the same time, financial contributions to a mechanism for sharing the costs of those obligations,

Justification

In order to create the legal certainty necessary for the establishment of a proportionate authorisation system and for a cost-sharing mechanism compatible with Treaty rules, it needs to be specified that the postal service providers’ financial contribution to that mechanism may only serve to finance the costs of performance of the same universal service obligations which they would have had to perform.

Amendment 31

ARTICLE 1, POINT 14, POINT (A)
Article 12, indent 1 (Directive 97/67/CE)

- prices must be affordable and must be such that all users have access to the services provided. Member States may maintain or introduce free postal service for blind and partially sighted persons

- prices must be affordable and must be such that all users, independent of geographical location, and, in light of specific national conditions, have access to the services provided. Member States shall publish the rules and criteria for ensuring affordability at national level. National regulatory authorities shall monitor all price changes and shall publish regular reports. Member States shall ensure the provision of free postal service for the use of blind and partially sighted persons.

Justification

Together with physical and geographical access, the price of the universal postal services is key in guaranteeing access to these services. Affordability needs to be therefore guaranteed through the monitoring and intervention of the National regulatory authorities in order for postal services to continue being accessible in the future.

Amendment 32

ARTICLE 1, POINT 14, POINT (B)
Article 12, indent 2 (Directive 97/67/CE)

- prices must be cost-oriented and stimulate efficiency gains; whenever necessary for reasons relating to the public interest, Member States may decide that a uniform tariff should be applied throughout their national territory and/or to the territories of other Member States, to services provided at single piece tariff and to other items,

- prices must be cost-oriented and stimulate efficiency gains; universal service providers may adjust their tariffs within the field of the universal service in order to respond to demand from the various markets, taking account of the different costs and levels of competition; whenever necessary for reasons relating to the public interest, Member States may decide that a uniform tariff should be applied throughout their national territory and/or to the territories of other Member States, for example, to services provided at single piece tariff and to other items,

Justification

(First paragraph of justification does not apply to EN text).

In an ever more competitive environment, the universal service provider must strike a balance, when setting prices for services forming part of the universal service, between cost-oriented prices and elasticity of demand, in order to be a contender in the most competitive market sectors.

Amendment 33

ARTICLE 1, POINT 14, POINT (B A) (new)
Article 12, indent 2 b (new) (Directive 97/67/CE)

 

(ba) The following is inserted after indent 2a:

 

"- the application of a uniform tariff pursuant to the preceding sub-paragraph does not exclude the right of the universal service provider(s) to apply uniform tariffs on a voluntary basis and to conclude individual agreements on prices with customers."

(Same wording as that of Directive 97/67/CE, with some additions)

Justification

Universal service providers should be allowed to continue applying uniform tariffs on a voluntary basis, within the limits of cost-orientation.

Amendment 34

ARTICLE 1, POINT 15
Article 14, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/CE)

1. Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the accounting of the universal service providers is conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Article.

1. Where a Member State puts in place one of the financing mechanisms referred to in Article 7(2), (3) or (4) at the request of the universal service provider, it shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the accounting is conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Article.

Justification

It seems reasonable to require a universal service provider which receives financing to present a separate set of accounts clearly distinguishing the universal service products.

In the absence of a reserved sector, separate accounting is still useful in cases where other funding mechanisms are put in place (compensation funds, public subsidies, direct taxation), in order to ensure that the funding received genuinely reflects the net cost of the universal service.

On the other hand, where a reserved sector exists, it is logical to retain separate accounting to permit checking for cross-subsidies.

Amendment 35

ARTICLE 1, POINT 15
Article 14, paragraph 3, point (b), point (iii a) (new) (Directive 97/67/CE)

 

(iiia) Common costs which are necessary to provide both universal services and non-universal services may not be entirely allocated to universal services; the same cost drivers must be applied to both universal services and non-universal services.

Justification

Some Member States allow the incumbent universal service operators to allocate all common costs – or a significant share thereof – to the universal services although, by their nature, these costs are necessary to provide both universal services and non-universal services. Such practices will artificially increase the cost of universal services, which can lead to increased financing and increased postal tariffs. Furthermore, such practices will reduce the costs of non-universal services. This in turn allows the incumbent universal service operators to significantly lower the prices of these services, to the detriment of competition in this market. Therefore, common costs must be allocated in a non-discriminatory manner.

Amendment 36

ARTICLE 1, POINT 15
Article 14, paragraph 7 (Directive 97/67/CE)

7. On request, detailed accounting information arising from these systems shall be made available in confidence to the national regulatory authority and to the Commission.

7. On request, detailed accounting information arising from these systems shall be made available in confidence to the national regulatory authority and to the Commission under the conditions set out in Article 22a.

Justification

There is a need to specify the conditions under which detailed accounting information is to be communicated to the national regulatory authority in accordance with the new Article 22a.

Amendment 37

ARTICLE 1, POINT 16
Article 19, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Member States shall ensure that transparent, simple and inexpensive procedures are made available by undertakings providing postal services for dealing with postal users’ complaints, particularly in cases involving loss, theft, damage or non-compliance with service quality standards (including procedures for determining where responsibility lies in cases where more than one operator is involved).

Member States shall ensure that transparent, simple and inexpensive procedures are made available by universal service providers and undertakings providing other postal services for dealing with postal users’ complaints, particularly in cases involving loss, theft, damage or non-compliance with service quality standards (including procedures for determining where responsibility lies in cases where more than one operator is involved).

Amendment 38

ARTICLE 1, POINT 16
Article 19, paragraph 3 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Member States shall also encourage the development of independent out of court schemes for the resolution of disputes between undertakings providing postal services and consumers.

Member States shall also encourage the development of independent out of court schemes for the resolution of disputes between undertakings providing postal services and consumers. The burden of proof in respect of complaints by users of postal services, within the meaning of paragraph 1, shall lie with postal service providers, particularly as regards losses, theft and damage.

Amendment 39

ARTICLE 1, POINT 16
Article 19, paragraph 4 (Directive 97/67/EC)

4. Without prejudice to other possibilities of appeal or means of redress under national and Community legislation, Member States shall ensure that users, acting individually or, where permitted by national law, jointly with organisations representing the interests of users and/or consumers, may bring before the competent national authority cases where users’ complaints to undertakings providing services within the scope of the universal service have not been satisfactorily resolved.

4. Without prejudice to other possibilities of appeal or means of redress under national and Community legislation, Member States shall ensure that users, acting individually or, where permitted by national law, jointly with organisations representing the interests of users and/or consumers, may bring before the competent national authority cases where users’ complaints to universal service providers or to undertakings providing services within the scope of the universal service have not been satisfactorily resolved.

Amendment 40

ARTICLE 1, POINT 16 A (new)
Article 20, paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/CE)

 

(16a) Article 20, paragraph 2 is replaced by the following:

 

The European Committee for Standardisation shall be entrusted with drawing up technical standards applicable in the postal sector on the basis of remits and deadlines for delivery from the Committee provided for in Article 21, and pursuant to the principles set out in Council Directive 83/189/EEC of 28 March 1983 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations.

(Same wording as that of Directive 97/67/CE, with some additions)

Justification

Differences between technical standards on postal services continue to exist among Member States, due to a slow standardisation process. However, the existing commitology procedure remains appropriate, but deadlines should henceforth be provided for standards setting.

Amendment 41

ARTICLE 1, POINT 16 B (new)
Article 20, paragraph 3 (Directive 97/67/CE)

 

(16b) Article 20, paragraph 3 is replaced by the following:

 

This work shall take account, when available, of the harmonisation measures adopted at international level and in particular those decided upon within the Universal Postal Union.

(Same wording as that of Directive 97/67/CE, with some additions)

Justification

Differences between technical standards on postal services continue to exist among Member States, due to a slow standardisation process. However, the existing commitology procedure remains appropriate, but deadlines should henceforth be provided for standards setting.

Amendment 42

ARTICLE 1, POINT 18

Article 22, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

The national regulatory authorities of the Member States shall work in close collaboration and shall provide mutual assistance in order to facilitate application of this Directive.

National regulatory authorities may organise public consultations on the provision of universal services. These consultations shall be open to interested stakeholders, and shall be based on the principles of transparency and non-discrimination.

 

The Commission, in its regular report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of this Directive, shall examine the necessity of further developing an operational European regulatory authority for postal services. Hence, the national regulatory authorities of the Member States shall work in close collaboration and shall provide mutual assistance in order to facilitate application of this Directive.

Justification

The Commission should examine the competence and functioning of a European regulatory authority, as a platform for national regulatory authorities to exchange measures of administrative cooperation and benchmarking and as the European Commission's advisory body on technical issues and the better implementation and monitoring of compliance to Community legislation at the national level. Similar arrangements have been made in the case of the telecoms, financial or energy sectors.

Amendment 43

ARTICLE 1, POINT 20

Article 22a, paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

2. Undertakings shall provide such information promptly on request and within the timescales and to the level of detail required by the national regulatory authority. The information requested by the national regulatory authority shall be proportionate to the performance of its tasks. The national regulatory authority shall give the reasons justifying its request for information.

2. All undertakings shall provide such information promptly on request and in confidence, where necessary, within the timescales and to the level of detail required by the national regulatory authority. The information requested by the national regulatory authority shall be proportionate to the performance of its tasks and it shall not be used for purposes other than those for which it was requested. The national regulatory authority shall give the reasons justifying its request for information.

Justification

The request of information must take place within the limits of confidentiality, where necessary, and within the exercise by national regulatory authorities of their tasks. Otherwise, there is fear that information provided from postal operators may be used in a manner hampering fair competition within an internal market.

Amendment 44

ARTICLE 1, POINT 21
Article 23 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Every three years, on the first occasion no later than 31 December 2011, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Directive, including the appropriate information about developments in the sector, particularly concerning economic, social, employment patterns and technological aspects, as well as about quality of service. The report shall be accompanied where appropriate by proposals to the European Parliament and the Council.’

Taking into account the provisions of Article 7, every three years, on the first occasion no later than 31 December 2011, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Directive, including the appropriate information about developments in the sector, particularly concerning economic, social, employment patterns and technological aspects, as well as about quality of service. The report shall be accompanied where appropriate by proposals to the European Parliament and the Council.’

Amendment 45

ARTICLE 1, POINT 21
Article 23, paragraph 1 a (new) (Directive 97/67/CE)

 

No later than the date of entry into force of this Directive, the Commission shall issue guidance on the cost accounting systems and on the application of the selected financing mechanism(s) of the universal services, notably with regard to competition rules and State aid rules.

Justification

The current Notice from the Commission on the Application of the Competition Rules to the Postal Sector (OJ 1998 C 39, p. 2) is no longer up-to-date. Since the adoption of the 1998 Notice, important developments have taken place in the case-law of the European Court of Justice and the decisional practice of the Commission, both in relation to the rules on State aid and the rules on competition.

In order to increase legal certainty and to facilitate investment decisions of all postal operators, the Commission should set out, by way of a revised Notice or any other interpretative guidance, the approach the Commission intends to take when applying the State aid and competition rules in the postal sector. Guidance on the cost allocation principles set out in Article 14(3) is particularly warranted.

PROCEDURE

Title

Accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

References

COM(2006)0594 - C6-0354/2006 - 2006/0196(COD)

Committee responsible

TRAN

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

IMCO

14.11.2006

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Konstantinos Hatzidakis

19.12.2006

 

 

Discussed in committee

1.3.2007

11.4.2007

23.4.2007

 

Date adopted

8.5.2007

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

21

17

0

Members present for the final vote

Charlotte Cederschiöld, Gabriela Creţu, Mia De Vits, Rosa Díez González, Janelly Fourtou, Evelyne Gebhardt, Malcolm Harbour, Pierre Jonckheer, Lasse Lehtinen, Toine Manders, Arlene McCarthy, Bill Newton Dunn, Zita Pleštinská, Guido Podestà, Zuzana Roithová, Luisa Fernanda Rudi Ubeda, Heide Rühle, Leopold Józef Rutowicz, Christel Schaldemose, Alexander Stubb, Eva-Britt Svensson, Marianne Thyssen, Jacques Toubon, Bernadette Vergnaud, Barbara Weiler

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Wolfgang Bulfon, Jean-Claude Fruteau, Konstantinos Hatzidakis, Filip Kaczmarek, Othmar Karas, Manuel Medina Ortega, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Olle Schmidt, Søren Bo Søndergaard, Marc Tarabella, Anja Weisgerber

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Philip Bushill-Matthews, Gabriele Albertini, Horia-Victor Toma, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Anne Van Lancker, Zdzisław Zbigniew Podkański, Yannick Vaugrenard, Reinhard Rack


OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development (7.5.2007)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism

on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 97/67/EC concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

(COM(2006)0594 – C6‑0354/2006 – 2006/0196(COD))

Draftsman: Richard Seeber

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

In the 1990s the EU began a process of gradually opening the market in postal services. Market opening is not an end in itself but an instrument to improve the efficiency and quality of the postal sector. In this way the EU hopes to stimulate growth in the postal services sector which will boost cross-border trade, particularly in new forms such as e-commerce.

The Commission proposal(1) seeks to round off the process by opening up the reserved sector (mail items under 50g) and thus completing the internal market in postal services. The directive must set a regulatory framework which on the one hand creates fair and full competition and on the other hand guarantees a functioning and affordable universal service.

A functioning universal service is particularly important for social and territorial cohesion. In easily accessible areas with a high population density, it is likely that increased competition will lead to lower prices for postal services. New competitors will probably concentrate on these attractive segments of the market. However, market opening must not take place at the expense of the remote, more thinly populated areas of the EU, which also tend to be those which are economically less developed. On the contrary, such areas must be enabled to participate in the efficiency gains of market opening, as must consumers with low market power, such as blind and partially sighted people. It is precisely in the remote and less densely populated areas that postal services can compensate for geographical disadvantages, e.g. by the development of Internet mail order trading, and are therefore particularly important for territorial cohesion.

Accordingly the directive needs to adopt more detailed provisions which guarantee high quality and affordable prices for all. It needs to be ensured that new service providers can meet the existing quality requirements. Minimum standards for access points to postal services for the whole territory of the EU are just as necessary as the obligation to maintain a uniform tariff both for mail items anywhere in the Member State and for mail items throughout the EU, which are the services most frequently used by private consumers and by SMEs.

The universal service may be provided in future by one or more providers for part or all of the territory of a Member State. The proposal provides the Member States with a high degree of flexibility as regards the funding of the universal service. The Member States may choose between a number of existing – though in some cases not yet sufficiently operational – funding mechanisms. They may also combine several mechanisms or use alternative methods, provided these are not contrary to Community law. Only the funding of the universal service by the taxpayer via a public compensation fund should be avoided, since the whole point of market opening was to increase the economic viability of the postal sector and phase out state subsidies. Subsidising the universal service – which was formerly provided by cross-subsidy – out of tax revenue, also contradicts the objective of European competition policy, namely to phase out state aids in the EU.

It is becoming clear that many decisions, particularly as regards the financing of the universal service, will still have to be taken during the implementing phase of the directive. Given the great importance of the directive for social and territorial cohesion, it is important to ensure that sufficient attention is paid to this dimension during the implementation process. This can only be guaranteed if the implementation reports specifically analyse the impact on social and territorial cohesion and if the regional and local authorities are appropriately involved in the implementation of the directive.

The postal sector is a major factor for employment in less developed areas. Accordingly it is important for those areas in particular that high-quality jobs should be created. Fair competition between service providers can only develop when comparable employment conditions exist among the various postal service providers. Accordingly, the proposal for a directive needs to be amended so that rules to that effect are adopted in the Member States.

The completion of the single market in the postal sector will only cease to represent a threat to social and territorial cohesion if appropriate measures are taken to guarantee the universal service in the long term together with flanking measures to restore fair competition. This includes a uniform time limit within the EU for the implementation of full market opening.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Text proposed by the Commission(2)  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

RECITAL 3

(3) Article 16 of the EC Treaty highlights the role played by services of general economic interest in the shared values of the Union as well as their role in promoting social and territorial cohesion. It states that care should be taken that such services operate on the basis of principles and conditions which enable them to fulfil their missions.

(3) Article 16 of the EC Treaty highlights the role played by services of general economic interest in the shared values of the Union as well as their role in promoting social and territorial cohesion. It states that care should be taken that such services operate on the basis of principles and conditions which enable them to fulfil their missions. These principles and conditions should be defined through a consultation process with consumer organisations and with regional and local authorities.

Justification

Including and consulting with consumer organisations and regional and local authorities are particularly important, above all in the preparatory phase, if the services are to function properly. The bodies that are consulted have practical experience and expertise in the field, which are very valuable for organising the services. Experience from other policy areas such as EU regional policy, has shown that including the relevant partners in all phases of planning and implementation made the policies more effective. It is particularly important to take account of regional and local authorities here because of the effects of postal services on territorial cohesion.

Amendment 2

RECITAL 3 A (new)

 

(3a) Since they constitute an essential instrument for communication and information exchange, postal services fulfil a vital role which contributes to the objectives of social, economic and territorial cohesion in the European Union.

Justification

Postal services significantly contribute to the economic development of urban and rural regions and constitute a major element of social cohesion in both urban areas and rural areas.

Amendment 3

RECITAL 4

(4) The measures in this area should be designed in such a way that the tasks of the Community pursuant to Article 2 of the EC Treaty, namely, to promote throughout the Community a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities, a high level of employment and of social protection, sustainable and non-inflationary growth, a high degree of competitiveness and convergence of economic performance, the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States are achieved as objectives.

(4) The measures in this area should be designed in such a way that the tasks of the Community pursuant to Article 2 of the EC Treaty, namely, to promote throughout the Community a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities, a high level of employment and of social protection, sustainable and non-inflationary growth, a high degree of competitiveness and convergence of economic performance, a high level of environmental protection and improvement in environmental quality, the raising of the standard of living and quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States are achieved as objectives.

Justification

Article 2 of the EC Treaty refers explicitly to environmental protection and improvement of the quality of the environment as tasks of the Community. As the operation of postal services has an impact on the environment, particularly with regard to transport, the recitals would not be complete unless they include the task of environmental protection.

Amendment 4

RECITAL 6

(6) The European Parliament Resolution of 2 February 2006 highlighted the social and economic importance of efficient postal services and their important role in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, indicating that reform measures undertaken so far have brought about significant positive developments in the postal sector, along with increased quality, more efficiency and better customer-orientation.

(6) The European Parliament Resolution of 2 February 2006 highlighted the social and economic importance of efficient postal services and their important role in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, indicating that reform measures undertaken so far have brought about significant positive developments in the postal sector, along with increased quality, more efficiency and better customer-orientation. That resolution called on the Commission, in view of the sometimes perceptibly divergent developments in universal service obligations in the Member States, to concentrate in particular, when drawing up its prospective study, on the quality of the universal service provided and on its future funding and to propose, in the context of that study, a definition, scope and appropriate financing for the universal service.

Justification

Reference should be made to the very specific points which the Commission was asked to address, in Parliament's Resolution of 2 February 2006 on the application of the Postal Directive, as it prepared to begin work on its prospective study.

Amendment 5

RECITAL 7

(7) In accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, a prospective study assessing, for each Member State, the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2009 has been carried out. The Commission has also undertaken a thorough review of the Community postal sector, including the commissioning of studies on the economic, social and technological developments in the sector, and has consulted extensively with interested parties.

(7) In accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, a prospective study assessing, for each Member State, the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market in 2009 has been carried out. The Commission has also undertaken a review of the Community postal sector, including the commissioning of studies on the economic, social and technological developments in the sector, and has consulted extensively with interested parties. However, more extensive consultation with interested parties will be necessary to understand the impact on employment and social and territorial cohesion of accomplishing the internal market.

Justification

Given the broad scope of issues involved in accomplishing the postal internal market, the Commission should study more thoroughly the impact of liberalisation on employment and social and territorial cohesion.

Amendment 6

RECITAL 8

(8) According to the prospective study the basic aim of safeguarding the sustainable provision of a universal service matching the standard of quality defined by the Member States in accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, can be secured throughout the Community by 2009 without the need for a reserved area.

 

.

(8) According to the prospective study, and particularly with regard to the alternative financing solutions, the basic aim of safeguarding the sustainable provision of a universal service matching the standard of quality defined by the Member States in accordance with Directive 97/67/EC, cannot be secured throughout the Community by 2009 without a reserved area for those Member States where such a financing method proves necessary.

Justification

Until the Commission has undertaken a thorough review of the financing methods for the universal service, and in view of the difficulties encountered by certain Member States, the reserved area cannot be excluded as a method of financing the universal service.

Amendment 7

RECITAL 9

(9) The progressive and gradual opening of postal markets to competition has provided universal service providers with sufficient time to put in place the necessary modernisation and restructuring measures required to ensure their long-term viability under the new market conditions, and enabled Member States to adapt their regulatory systems to a more open environment. Member States may furthermore avail themselves of the opportunity offered by the period of transposition, as well as the substantial time necessary for the introduction of effective competition, to proceed with further modernisation and restructuring of the universal service providers as necessary.

(9) The progressive and gradual opening of postal markets to competition has not provided all universal service providers with sufficient time to put in place the necessary modernisation and restructuring measures required to ensure their long-term viability under the new market conditions, and has not enabled all Member States to adapt their regulatory systems to a more open environment. Given the time necessary for the introduction of a level playing-field, and to proceed with further modernisation and restructuring of the universal service providers as necessary, Member States which consider it necessary may avail themselves of the opportunity offered by a postponement of the 2009 deadline for full accomplishment of the internal market.

Justification

Until the Commission has undertaken a thorough review of the financing methods for the universal service, and in view of the difficulties encountered by certain Member States, the reserved area cannot be excluded as a method of financing the universal service.

Amendment 8

RECITAL 10

(10) The prospective study shows that the reserved area should no longer be the preferred solution for the financing of the universal service. This assessment takes into account the interest of the Community and its Member States in the accomplishment of the internal market and its potential for delivering growth and employment, as well as ensuring the availability of an efficient service of general economic interest for all users. It is therefore appropriate to confirm the date of 1 January 2009 as the final step in the accomplishment of the internal market for postal services.

(10) The prospective study shows that the reserved area should no longer be the preferred solution for the financing of the universal service. This assessment takes into account the interest of the Community and its Member States in the accomplishment of the internal market and its potential for delivering growth and employment, as well as ensuring the availability of an efficient service of general economic interest for all users. However, that study did not assess the impact on social and territorial cohesion of the opening of the postal market. The strong symbolic value of these services of general economic interest means that subsequent stages in the opening of the market must be carefully prepared.

Justification

The full opening of the market should be postponed until these studies and analyses of the impact on social and territorial cohesion have been carried out.

Amendment 9

RECITAL 12

(12) Complete market-opening will help to expand the overall size of the postal markets; it will further contribute to maintaining sustainable and quality employment within universal service providers as well as facilitating the creation of new jobs in other operators, new entrants and associated economic activities. The present Directive is without prejudice to the competence of Member States to regulate employment conditions in the postal services sector.

(12) Complete market-opening will help to expand the overall size of the postal markets; it will further contribute to maintaining sustainable and quality employment within universal service providers as well as facilitating the creation of new jobs in other operators, new entrants and associated economic activities. In this connection, particular attention should be paid to its impact on employment in the postal services sector in rural and remote areas where postal services represent an important employment opportunity. It is important particularly for the less developed regions that high-quality jobs should be created. For that reason, and to establish fair competition, this Directive should provide for the Member States to take measures to ensure that comparable conditions of employment prevail throughout the entire postal services sector within the same Member State and that employment conditions offered by new service providers are comparable to those offered by the universal service provider.

Justification

In some opened postal service markets, the conditions of work with the new service providers are significantly worse than those with the universal service provider. This leads on the one hand to a distortion of competition and on the other hand to a deterioration of the labour market in the postal services sector. These negative effects on the employment market will be felt particularly hard in the less developed regions of the EU and in rural and remote areas in receipt of funding from the structural funds.

Amendment 10

RECITAL 13 A (new)

 

(13a) The rural postal network, inter alia in mountain and island regions, plays an essential role in integrating businesses into the national/global economy and in maintaining cohesion in social and employment terms. Furthermore, rural post offices in mountain and island regions can provide an essential infrastructure network for universal access to new telecommunications technologies.

Justification

For the inhabitants and the businesses situated in mountainous and island regions, the postal network constitutes a link to the economy outside these regions, as well as a link with new telecommunications technologies.

Amendment 11

RECITAL 14

(14) The developments in the neighbouring communications markets have had a varied impact in different regions of the Community and segments of the population and the use of postal services. Territorial and social cohesion should be maintained, and taking into account that Member States may adapt some specific service features to accommodate local demand by applying flexibility provided in Directive 97/67/EC, it is appropriate to fully maintain the universal service and the associated quality requirements set out in the said Directive. In order to ensure that market opening continues to benefit all users, in particular consumers and small and medium size enterprises, Member States must monitor and supervise market developments. They must take appropriate regulatory measures, available under the Directive, to ensure that accessibility to postal services continues to satisfy the needs of users including, by ensuring, where appropriate, a minimum number of services at the same access point.

(14) The developments in the neighbouring communications markets have had a varied impact in different regions of the Community and segments of the population and the use of postal services. Territorial and social cohesion should be maintained, and taking into account that Member States may adapt some specific service features to accommodate local demand by applying flexibility provided in Directive 97/67/EC, it is appropriate to fully maintain the universal service and the associated quality requirements set out in the said Directive. In order to ensure that market opening continues to benefit all users, in particular consumers and small and medium size enterprises, Member States must monitor and supervise market developments. They must take appropriate regulatory measures, available under the Directive, to ensure that accessibility to postal services continues to satisfy the needs of users including, by ensuring, where appropriate, a minimum number of services at the same access point, and in particular that there is no decline in the density of access points to postal services in rural and remote regions.

Justification

This amendment is necessary in order to ensure that there is no deterioration in the accessibility of postal services in rural and remote regions, and that market opening does not jeopardise territorial cohesion.

Amendment 12

RECITAL 14 A (new)

(14a) The provision of high-quality postal services contributes significantly to achieving the objective of social and territorial cohesion. E-commerce in particular offers new opportunities for remote and sparsely populated areas to participate in economic life, for which the provision of good postal services is an important precondition.

Justification

A separate recital is necessary to highlight the importance of postal services in rural, thinly populated and remote regions. In this connection it should be noted that e-commerce can secure access to goods and services in these regions in particular. However, e-commerce can only develop its full potential if adequate postal services are provided.

Amendment 13

RECITAL 14 B (new)

 

(14b) Demographic change is already leading to significant shifts in the territorial distribution of Europe’s population. This trend will increase in future. The universal service should be organised to take account of the dynamics of this development, and appropriate measures should be identified to maintain the universal service in accordance with the quality standards laid down in Directive 97/67/EC, even under changed demographic conditions.

Justification

The consequences of demographic change are already having an effect on regional development in Europe and in future will lead to increasingly unbalanced development potential in the European regions because of shifting population density. The way the universal service is organised must not disadvantage regions that are particularly affected by demographic change, as this would further restrict their overall development. Rather, care must be taken to ensure that, despite changing conditions because of demographic change, the universal service in the affected regions will remain intact.

Amendment 14

RECITAL 18

(18) The external financing of the residual net costs of universal service may still be necessary for some Member States. It is therefore appropriate to explicitly clarify the alternatives available to ensure the financing of the universal service, to the extent that this is needed and is adequately justified, while leaving Member States the choice of the financing mechanisms to be used. These alternatives include the use of public procurement procedures and, whenever universal service obligations entail net costs of universal service and represent an unfair burden for the designated undertaking, public compensation and cost sharing between service providers and/or users in a transparent fashion by means of contributions to a compensation fund. Member States may use other means of financing permitted by Community Law, such as deciding that the profits accruing from other activities of the universal service providers outside the scope of the universal service are to be assigned in whole or in part to the financing of the net costs of the universal service, as long as they are compatible with the present Directive.

(18) The external financing of the residual net costs of universal service may still be necessary for some Member States. It is therefore appropriate to explicitly clarify the alternatives available to ensure the financing of the universal service, to the extent that this is needed and is adequately justified, while leaving Member States the choice of the financing mechanisms to be used. These alternatives include the use of public procurement procedures and, whenever universal service obligations entail net costs of universal service and represent an unfair burden for the designated undertaking, public compensation and cost sharing between service providers and/or users in a transparent fashion by means of contributions to a compensation fund. Member States may use other means of financing permitted by Community Law, such as deciding that the profits accruing from other activities of the universal service providers outside the scope of the universal service are to be assigned in whole or in part to the financing of the net costs of the universal service, as long as they are compatible with the present Directive. In view of budgetary discipline in Member States, the long-term sustainability of the financing of the universal service and its potential effects on competition, the use of public compensation as a means of financing the net costs of universal services should be restricted to the appropriate minimum and should comply with existing rules on the funding of public services through State aids.

Justification

The aim of the gradual opening of the market in postal services was to make them more efficient and profitable so as to eliminate state subsidies for the postal sector. Public compensation. i.e. subsidising the postal sector out of tax revenue, is incompatible both with the budgetary position of public funds, particularly in the context of the Stability Pact, and with the EU's competition rules, which seek to phase out subsidies.

Amendment 15

RECITAL 23

(23) Given the importance of postal services for blind and partially sighted persons, it is appropriate to confirm that the process of market opening should not curtail the continuing supply of certain free services for blind and partially sighted persons introduced by the Member States in accordance with applicable international obligations.

(23) Given the importance of postal services for blind and partially sighted persons, it is appropriate to confirm that, in an open and competitive market, there is a an obligation to introduce and/or maintain certain free services for blind and partially sighted persons introduced by the Member States.

Justification

In an open market there must be no competitive advantage for service providers who do not make certain postal services available free of charge to blind and partially sighted people. On the contrary, such an obligation must form part of the universal service obligation which is necessary in the interest of social and territorial cohesion.

Amendment 16

RECITAL 24

(24) In a fully competitive environment, it is important, both for the financial equilibrium of the universal service as well as for limiting market distortions, that the principle that prices reflect normal commercial conditions and costs is only departed from in order to protect public interests. This objective is achieved by continuing to allow Member States to maintain uniform tariffs for single piece tariff mail, the service most frequently used by consumers and small and medium size enterprises. Individual Member States may also maintain uniform tariffs for some other mail items to protect general public interest reasons, such as access to culture, regional and social cohesion.

(24) In a fully competitive environment, it is important, both for the financial equilibrium of the universal service as well as for limiting market distortions, that the principle that prices reflect normal commercial conditions and costs is only departed from in order to protect public interests, such as the objective of social and territorial cohesion. This objective is achieved by requiring Member States to maintain uniform tariffs for single piece tariff mail, the service most frequently used by consumers and small and medium size enterprises. Individual Member States may also maintain uniform tariffs for some other mail items to protect general public interest reasons, such as access to culture, regional and social cohesion

Justification

In the interest of territorial cohesion in the EU, a uniform tariff must apply throughout the EU for certain services mainly used by private consumers and SMEs. This principle must not be called into question even after the market has been fully opened up.

Amendment 17

RECITAL 28 A (new)

(28a) The committee responsible for the implementation Directive 97/67/EC should monitor the development of the measures taken by the Member States to guarantee the universal service, and in particular the current and foreseeable effects of such measures on social and territorial cohesion. Given the particular importance which the opening of the market in postal services has in terms of regional cohesion, that committee should comprise representatives not only of the Member States but also of local and regional authorities from every Member State.

Justification

The committee has important implementing powers in respect of the directive, and these have an impact on territorial cohesion. Accordingly it is important for authorities at regional and local level from each Member State to be represented on the committee in order to be involved in its implementation and to assess its impact on social and territorial cohesion.

Amendment 18

RECITAL 34

(34) In order to keep the European Parliament and the Council informed on the development of the internal market for postal services, the Commission should regularly submit reports to those institutions on the application of Directive 97/67/EC

(34) In order to keep the European Parliament and the Council informed on the progress made towards completion of the internal market for postal services, the Commission should regularly submit reports to those institutions on the application of Directive 97/67/EC. In its next report, and in any event no later than 31 December 2010, the Commission should include an assessment of the effectiveness of the financing methods proposed in Directive 97/67/EC and the appropriateness to user needs of the universal service scope, based on broad consultation with interested parties and appropriate studies. These reports should include relevant information on the impact of market opening on social and territorial cohesion, enabling the Member States, where necessary, to take appropriate measures in order to counteract any negative impact in good time.

Justification

It is important that the report should also assess the impact of market opening on social and territorial cohesion and report regularly to the European Parliament and Council, to enable regulatory measures to be adopted where necessary.

Amendment 19

ARTICLE 1, POINT 2 A (new)

Article 3, paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

(2a) Article 3(2) is replaced by the following:

 

‘(2) To this end, Member States shall take steps to ensure that the density of the points of contact and of the access points takes account of the needs of users, in particular to ensure an adequate density of contact and access points in more sparsely populated areas. The Member States should determine, on the basis of the existing density per inhabitant, a quantifiable minimum number of contact and access points.’

(The amendment adds a further point to the Commission proposal amending Directive 97/67/EC concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services. To that end, Article 3(2) of Directive 97/67/EC of 15 December 1997 should also be amended as shown)

Justification

This addition to the definition of "universal service” is necessary in order to guarantee that a full opening of the market does not result in a deterioration in the network of contact and access points in more thinly populated areas, which would in turn lead to a drop in the quality of services in these areas and thus contribute to the depopulation of the countryside.

Amendment 20

ARTICLE 1, POINT 4

Article 4, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

1. Each Member State shall ensure that the provision of the universal service is guaranteed and shall notify the Commission of the steps it has taken to fulfil this obligation. The Committee established under Article 21 shall be informed and monitor the evolution of the measures established by Member States to ensure the provision of the universal service.

1. Each Member State shall ensure that the provision of the universal service is guaranteed and shall notify the Commission of the steps it has taken to fulfil this obligation.

(a) Each Member State shall entrust its

national regulatory authority with the obligation to define, in consultation with stakeholders, including consumer organisations, the universal service obligation in more detail, in particular the details concerning delivery times, collection and delivery frequency and security and reliability of the universal service.

(b) The Committee established under Article 21 shall be informed and monitor the evolution of the measures established by Member States to ensure the provision of the universal service, in particular the present and foreseeable impact of such measures on social and territorial cohesion.

Justification

This addition is necessary to ensure that the measurable present, and potential future, effects on social and territorial cohesion of the full opening of the market in postal services are assessed, since the universal service is particularly important for social and territorial cohesion.

Amendment 21

ARTICLE 1, POINT 4

Article 4, paragraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

2. Member States may choose to designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers for a part or all of the national territory and for different elements of universal service. When they do so, they shall determine in accordance with Community law the obligations and rights assigned to them and shall publish these obligations and rights. In particular Member States shall take measures to ensure that the conditions under which universal services are entrusted are based on objective, non–discriminatory, proportionate and least market distortion principles, and that the designation of undertakings as universal service providers is limited in time.

 

 

 

2. Member States may choose to designate one or more undertakings as universal service providers for a part or all of the national territory and for different elements of universal service. When they do so, they shall determine in accordance with Community law the obligations and rights assigned to them and shall publish these obligations and rights. In particular Member States shall take measures to ensure that the conditions under which universal services are entrusted are based on objective, non–discriminatory, proportionate and least market distortion principles, and guarantee the continuity of universal postal services in the light of their crucial role for social and territorial cohesion. Member States may require that universal service provision should extend to their entire national territory.

 

The designation of a universal service provider shall be subject to periodic review while the duration of the concession must be adequate to guarantee a return on investment.

 

Member States shall notify the identity of the universal service provider(s) they designate to the Commission.

Member States shall notify the identity of the universal service provider(s) they designate to the Commission.

Justification

In view of the geography of certain Member States (mountain regions, sparsely populated rural areas, e.g. in France and Italy), it may be inappropriate to issue regional calls for tender for provision of universal postal service.

Amendment 22

ARTICLE 1, POINT 4 A (new)

Article 5, paragraph 1, indent 5 (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

(4a) Article 5 (1), fifth indent, is replaced by the following:

- it shall evolve in response to the technical, economic, demographic and social environment and to the needs of users.

(The amendment adds a further point to the Commission proposal amending Directive 97/67/EC concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services. To that end, Article 5(1), indent 5, of Directive 97/67/EC of 15 December 1997 should also be amended as shown.)

Justification

The consequences of demographic change are already having an effect on regional development in Europe and in future will lead to increasingly unbalanced development potential in the European regions because of shifting population density. The way the universal service is organised must not disadvantage regions that are particularly affected by demographic change, as this would further restrict their overall development. Rather, care must be taken to ensure that, despite changing conditions because of demographic change, the universal service in the affected regions will remain intact.

Amendment 23

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8

Article 7, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

1. With effect from 1 January 2009 Member States shall not grant or maintain in force exclusive or special rights for the establishment and the provision of postal services. Member States may finance the provision of universal services in accordance with one or more of the means provided for in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, or in accordance with any other means compatible with the EC Treaty.

1. Member States may finance the provision of universal services in accordance with any means compatible with the EC Treaty.

Justification

In conformity with the subsidiarity principle, Member States should not be limited in the ways they consider appropriate to finance universal service obligations. Furthermore, it is premature to adopt provisions regarding the financing of universal service before having achieved a thorough impact assessment.

Amendment 24

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8

Article 7, paragraph 3 (Directive 97/67/EC)

3. Where a Member State determines that the universal service obligations, as provided for by this Directive, entail a net cost and represent an unfair financial burden for the universal service provider(s), it may:

(a) Introduce a mechanism to compensate the undertaking(s) concerned from public funds;

(b) Share the net cost of universal service obligations between providers of services and/or users.

3. Where a Member State determines that the universal service obligations, as provided for by this Directive, entail a net cost and represent an unfair financial burden for the universal service provider(s), it shall put in place mechanisms to compensate the universal service provider(s) for the net cost of providing the universal service.

Justification

The regulatory framework varies across the different Member States. To finance the universal service obligation, Member States should thus be allowed to employ a variety of financing mechanisms, adapted to the observed differences. Apart from providing state funding or sharing the cost of the universal service, other measures could be appropriate.

Amendment 25

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8

Article 7, paragraph 5 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

5a. Where a Member State considers that none of the above means ensures the financing of the net costs of the universal service on a sustainable basis, it may continue to reserve certain services for the designated universal service provider. Those services liable to be reserved in this way shall be the clearance, sorting, transport and delivery of ordinary items of domestic correspondence and incoming cross-border correspondence, whether by accelerated delivery or not, within the following weight and price limits.

 

In the case of the free postal service for blind and partially sighted persons, exceptions to the weight and price restrictions may be permitted.

 

To the extent necessary to ensure the provision of a universal service, for example, because of the specific characteristics particular to the postal services in a Member State, outgoing cross-border mail may continue to be reserved within the same weight and price limits.

Justification

The Commission must issue a report about the effectiveness of all different methods of financing universal service obligations. Until then, the reserved area must be maintained on the same terms as set out in Directive 97/67/EC.

Amendment 26

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8

Article 7, paragraph 5 b (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

5b. The Commission shall carry out a review to assess both the effectiveness of all the financing methods according to best practice as implemented by each Member State and whether the scope of the universal service is adequate to meet users' needs. On the basis of the conclusions of this review, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council, after wide consultation of all stakeholders and by no later than 31 December 2010, together with a proposal confirming, if appropriate, 2012 as the date for completion of the internal market in postal services or defining any other step in the light of the conclusions of the review.

Justification

The Commission must issue a report about the effectiveness of all different methods of financing universal service obligations. Until then, the reserved area must be maintained on the same terms as set out in Directive 97/67/EC.

Amendment 27

ARTICLE 1, POINT 8 A (new)

Article 8 (Directive 97/67/EC)

 

8a. Article 8 of Directive 97/67/CE is replaced by the following:

 

" Article 8

 

The provisions of Article 7 shall be without prejudice to Member States' right to:

- make special provision in their national legislation applicable to universal service providers, according to objective, proportionate and non-discriminatory criteria, as necessary for the operation of the universal service,

- organise, in accordance with their national legislation, the siting of letter boxes on the public highway, the issue of postage stamps and the registered mail service used in the course of judicial or administrative procedures, as necessary for the provision of the universal service" .

 

Justification

Member States should be allowed to continue to make special arrangements for universal service providers, if these are needed to allow a universal service to be operated. There are special provisions in various national legislations for universal service providers, for example in relation to transport, which are justified by the operational needs of the universal service.

Amendment 28

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10

Article 9, paragraph 2, subparagraph 2 (Directive 97/67/EC)

The granting of authorisations may:

The granting of authorisations may:

– where appropriate, be made subject to universal service obligations,

- where appropriate, be made subject to universal service obligations,

- where appropriate, be subject to an obligation to make a financial contribution to the cost-sharing mechanisms referred to in Article 7,

- allow postal service providers to choose between an obligation to provide one or more elements of the universal service and a financial contribution to the cost-sharing mechanism referred to in Article 7 for financing the operation of those elements,

- if necessary, impose requirements concerning the quality, availability and performance of the relevant services,

- where appropriate, be subject to an obligation to make a financial contribution to the sharing mechanisms referred to in Article 7.

- if necessary, impose requirements concerning the quality, availability and performance of the relevant services,

Justification

Clarification of the option for Member States to put in place authorisation mechanisms to allow postal service providers to choose between carrying out one or more universal service obligations and contributing to the cost of these obligations being carried out by the universal service provider. This would provide more legal certainty for Member States wanting to set up 'pay or play' type regulatory systems.

Amendment 29

ARTICLE 1, POINT 10 A (new)

Article 9, paragraph 2 a (new) (Directive 97/67/EC)

2a. To establish fair competition and to take account of the relevance of the postal sector in terms of employment opportunities, in particular in rural areas, the Member States shall take regulatory measures to ensure that  employment conditions in the postal sector do not deteriorate and that high-quality jobs are created with the new service provider. This may be achieved, in particular, through collective bargaining arrangements or by setting minimum wages or within the framework of the licensing regimes.

(This amendment adds a further point to the Commission proposal amending Directive 97/67/EC concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services. To that end, a new article should be inserted in Directive 97/67/EC of 15 December 1997 as shown)

Justification

In some opened postal service markets, the conditions of work with the new service providers are significantly worse than those with the universal service provider. This leads on the one hand to a distortion of competition and on the other hand to a deterioration of the labour market in the postal services sector. These negative effects on the employment market will be felt particularly hard in the less developed regions of the EU and in rural and remote areas in receipt of funding from the structural funds.

Amendment 30

ARTICLE 1, POINT 14

Article 12, indent 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

- prices must be affordable and must be such that all users have access to the services provided. Member States may maintain or introduce free postal service for blind and partially sighted persons.

- prices must be affordable and must be such that all users have access to the services provided. National regulatory authorities should monitor all price increases in excess of the national consumer price index in order to keep postal services affordable. Member States shall adopt legal provisions maintaining or introducing free postal service for blind and partially sighted persons.

Justification

In an open market there must be no competitive advantage for service providers who do not make certain postal services available free of charge to blind and partially sighted people. On the contrary, such an obligation must form part of the universal service obligation which is necessary in the interest of social and territorial cohesion.

Amendment 31

ARTICLE 1, POINT 17

Article 21, paragraph 1 (Directive 97/67/EC)

1. The Commission shall be assisted by a committee.

1. The Commission shall be assisted by a committee. The committee shall comprise representatives of the Member States and of the regional and local authorities of each Member State.

Justification

The committee has important implementing powers in respect of the directive, and these have an impact on territorial cohesion. Accordingly it is important for authorities at regional and local level from each Member State to be represented on the committee in order to be involved in its implementation and to assess its impact on social and territorial cohesion. Only through such involvement will it be possible for the effects on territorial cohesion to be properly taken into account during the market opening process.

Amendment 32

ARTICLE 1, POINT 21

Article 23 (Directive 97/67/EC)

Every three years, on the first occasion no later than 31 December 2011, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Directive, including the appropriate information about developments in the sector, particularly concerning economic, social, employment patterns and technological aspects, as well as about quality of service. The report shall be accompanied where appropriate by proposals to the European Parliament and the Council.

Between the date of entry into force of this Directive and 1 January 2009, the Commission shall undertake a comparative impact assessment and submit a report on:

- the costs and benefits of the various possible mechanisms for financing universal postal service obligations, making it possible to assess their impact in terms of competitive neutrality, transparency, legal certainty, operational reliability and State aids ;

- the impact of the provisions of this Directive on the social and working conditions, including the quality of employment, of the staff employed by universal service providers in all Member States;

- the current and foreseeable impact of market opening on social and territorial cohesion;

Taking into consideration the conclusions of its report, the Commission shall make proposals regarding the completion of the internal market in postal services, in particular regarding the methods of financing the universal service.

Justification

It is important that the report should also assess the impact of market opening on social and territorial cohesion and report regularly to the European Parliament and Council, to enable regulatory measures to be adopted where necessary.

(1)

Proposal for a directive amending Directive 97/67/EC concerning the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services.

(2)

Not yet published in OJ.


ПРОЦЕДУРА

Позовавания

COM(2006)0594 - C6-0354/2006 - 2006/0196(COD)

Дата на представяне на ЕП

18.10.2006

Водеща комисия

       Дата на обявяване в заседание

TRAN

14.11.2006

Комисия(и), сезирана(и) за становище

       Дата на обявяване в заседание

ECON

14.11.2006

EMPL

14.11.2006

ITRE

14.11.2006

IMCO

14.11.2006

 

REGI

1.2.2007

 

 

 

Докладчик(ци)

       Дата на назначаване

Markus Ferber

28.11.2006

 

 

Разглеждане в комисия

28.2.2007

27.3.2007

4.6.2007

 

Дата на приемане

18.6.2007

 

 

 

Резултат от окончателното гласуване

+:

–:

0:

38

6

0

Депутати, присъстващи на окончателното гласуване

Gabriele Albertini, Inés Ayala Sender, Etelka Barsi-Pataky, Jean-Louis Bourlanges, Paolo Costa, Michael Cramer, Arūnas Degutis, Christine De Veyrac, Petr Duchoň, Saïd El Khadraoui, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Mathieu Grosch, Timothy Kirkhope, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Jaromír Kohlíček, Sepp Kusstatscher, Bogusław Liberadzki, Eva Lichtenberger, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Erik Meijer, Robert Navarro, Willi Piecyk, Paweł Bartłomiej Piskorski, Luís Queiró, Reinhard Rack, Luca Romagnoli, Brian Simpson, Renate Sommer, Dirk Sterckx, Ulrich Stockmann, Georgios Toussas, Yannick Vaugrenard, Armando Veneto, Marta Vincenzi, Roberts Zīle

Заместник(ци), присъстващ(и) на окончателното гласуване

Zsolt László Becsey, Johannes Blokland, Fausto Correia, Markus Ferber, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Elisabeth Jeggle, Rosa Miguélez Ramos, Corien Wortmann-Kool

Заместник(ци) (чл. 178, пар. 2), присъстващ(и) на окончателното гласуване

Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou

Дата на внасяне

25.6.2007

Правна информация - Политика за поверителност