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Parliamentary questions
11 September 2006
Answer given by Mr McCreevy on behalf of the Commission

The Postal Directive(1) contains a number of general principles on pricing of universal postal services, including the principles of affordability and prices being geared to costs. These principles apply only for those postal services which fall within the universal service, which includes letters up to 2 kilograms (kg) and packages up to 10/20 kg, registered and insured services, both national and international. These principles do not apply to some of the services the Honourable Member appears to refer to, such as express and courier services which have therefore the right, under EC law, to have their prices freely set, subject to EC competition rules.

As a consequence, and concerning universal postal services between Malta and other Member States, as long as there would be objective cost reasons to justify different tariffs for Malta and other Member States, a price differentiation would not be in principle incompatible with EC law.

Irrespective of any price differences, the description of Malta as a non-Member State in a universal service provider price list would need to be amended in order to comply with the obligation, contained in the abovementioned directive, to inform customers in a detailed and up-to-date way about universal services. In all such cases, the control of the prices for universal postal services and the provision of information to users falls, in first instance, under the responsibility of Member States which should monitor and enforce the respective provisions.

(1)Directive 97/67/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 1997 on common rules for the development of the internal market of Community postal services and the improvement of quality of service, OJ L 15, 21.1.1998, as amended by Directive 2002/39/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 10 June 2002, OJ L 176, 5.7.2002.

OJ C 328, 30/12/2006
Last updated: 10 October 2006Legal notice