RECOMMENDATION FOR SECOND READING on the Council common position for adopting a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 97/67/EC with regard to the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

19.12.2007 - (13593/6/2007 – C6‑0410/2007 – 2006/0196(COD)) - ***II

Committee on Transport and Tourism
Rapporteur: Markus Ferber

Procedure : 2006/0196(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


on the Council common position for adopting a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 97/67/EC with regard to the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services

(13593/6/2007 – C6‑0410/2007 – 2006/0196(COD))

(Codecision procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Council common position (13593/6/2007 – C6‑0410/2007),

–   having regard to its position at first reading[1] on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2006)0594),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Rule 67 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A6‑0505/2007),

1.  Approves the common position;

2.  Notes that the act is adopted in accordance with the common position;

3.  Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council pursuant to Article 254(1) of the EC Treaty;

4.  Instructs its Secretary-General to sign the act, once it has been verified that all the procedures have been duly completed, and, in agreement with the Secretary-General of the Council, to have it published in the Official Journal of the European Union;

5.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.



Postal Services in the EU are currently covered by the 1997 Postal Directive (97/67/EC). This created a regulatory framework which guarantees citizens a universal service, while gradually limiting the scope of the reserved area (initially mail under 350 grams, amended in 2002 to 100 grams and reduced on 1 January 2006 to 50 grams). The Directive aims at ensuring the best possible service through a gradual opening of the market, with a final target set for full opening in 2009. It includes a requirement that the Commission should provide periodic reports on its implementation, and, before the end of 2006, confirm whether the 2009 date remains appropriate.

Commission Proposal

Based on a prospective study on the impact on universal service of the full accomplishment of the postal internal market, the Commission in October 2006 put forward the present proposal for amendment of Directive 97/67/EC. The proposal confirms 1st of January 2009 as the date, by which national operators would no longer have a monopoly on mail below 50 grams. The current obligation on Member States to ensure a high-quality and affordable universal service would remain. The Commission proposes a number of accompanying measures, which aim to safeguard the universal service, such as abolishment of mandatory ex-ante designation of providers and cost-oriented tariffs. As regards the financing of possible net-costs arising from universal service provision, the Commission clarifies a number of alternatives but leaves Member States the freedom to choose the method that is best adapted to their particular situation.

EP First Reading

Your rapporteur has supported the core objectives of the Commission's proposal from the beginning of the legislative procedure. The determination of a fixed and irrevocable date for the completion of the internal market in postal services is of particular importance, since market opening will provide for greater competition and thus improve service levels in terms of quality, price and choice available to consumers. It will also create the conditions for increased growth and employment in this sector. However, several aspects of the proposal require clarification or fine-tuning.

Throughout the first reading stage, your rapporteur had extensive discussions with colleagues both in the Transport Committee and the opinion-giving committees with a view to finding compromise solutions on a number of key issues. The negotiations eventually resulted in a compromise package, which was supported by a large majority at the vote in plenary in July 2007. The most significant elements of the EP's position in first reading are as follows:

-          Dates for market opening: The deadline for market opening should be set for 31 December 2010. This way, operators and regulators in countries that are lagging behind in the liberalisation process will have more time to adjust. The 12 Member States having acceded in 2004 or later as well as Member States with a particularly difficult topography would have an additional two years to open the market (31 December 2012).

-          Reciprocity: In order to avoid market distortion and unfair competition, those Member States having opened their markets should be able to refuse authorisation to operators still being protected by a national monopoly (reserved area) in another Member State.

-          Guaranteed universal service: The universal service must continue to be provided to the full extent, i.e. comprising at least one delivery and collection five days a week for every EU citizen. Moreover, it is important to maintain well-functioning postal networks with a sufficient number of access points in rural, remote or sparsely populated regions in order to satisfy the universal service obligation.

-          Social considerations should, in general, be taken into account in the process of market opening. In particular, Member States should be able to reflect working conditions in their authorisation procedures. Member States must also have the right to impose conditions on the supply of postal services for non-economic reasons, such as compliance with employment conditions and social security schemes laid down by law and/or by collective agreement negotiated between national social partners.

-          Financing: Where a Member State determines that the universal service obligations entail a net cost, it should draw up a financing plan and notify the Commission. The Commission should provide guidance on the calculation of net costs.

Council Common Position

Your rapporteur is pleased that Council incorporated all the major elements of the European Parliament's position as outlined above into its Common Position. Some modifications were made by the Council as regards the Directive's structure, but these do not affect the substance of the major amendments introduced by Parliament. Furthermore, your rapporteur welcomes that according to the Common Position, the countries which may postpone full market opening until the end of 2012 are now named explicitly and that the guidance on the calculation of net costs becomes part of the Directive in form of a newly introduced Annex.


Your rapporteur appreciates the Council's endorsement of the compromise reached in Parliament and therefore recommends that the Common Position be approved without amendment.



Accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services


13593/6/2007 - C6-0410/2007 - 2006/0196(COD)

Date of Parliament’s first reading – P number

11.7.2007                     T6-0336/2007

Commission proposal

COM(2006)0594 - C6-0354/2006

Date receipt of common position announced in plenary


Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary




       Date appointed

Markus Ferber




Discussed in committee





Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Gabriele Albertini, Inés Ayala Sender, Etelka Barsi-Pataky, Jean-Louis Bourlanges, Paolo Costa, Michael Cramer, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Arūnas Degutis, Christine De Veyrac, Petr Duchoň, Saïd El Khadraoui, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Mathieu Grosch, Georg Jarzembowski, Stanisław Jałowiecki, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, Sepp Kusstatscher, Jörg Leichtfried, Bogusław Liberadzki, Eva Lichtenberger, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Robert Navarro, Seán Ó Neachtain, Willi Piecyk, Paweł Bartłomiej Piskorski, Luís Queiró, Reinhard Rack, Brian Simpson, Renate Sommer, Dirk Sterckx, Ulrich Stockmann, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Yannick Vaugrenard, Armando Veneto, Roberts Zīle

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Luigi Cocilovo, Markus Ferber, Nathalie Griesbeck, Pedro Guerreiro, Zita Gurmai, Lily Jacobs, Vladimír Remek, Leopold Józef Rutowicz, Corien Wortmann-Kool