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Discussing the directive

The Postal Users Group (PUG), an alliance of
Europe’s major users of postal services, said the directive would bring benefits to users in terms of choice and prices. Chairman Per Mortensen added: “The challenge for the 27 Member States is to ensure they successfully adopt the directive’s legal framework to local conditions in ways that truly benefit postal users thereby ensuring letter post’s future. Therefore, PUG will follow the transposition of the directive into national law very closely”.The Free and Fair Post Initiative (FFPI) agreed that the directive would improve choice and quality of service for users and consumers, and will encourage innovation and dynamism in the sector. However, FFPI President Philippe Bodson warned of “backstage protectionist manoeuvres”, saying: “Today’s vote is historical, but is not the end of the story. The success of postal liberalisation will in fact depend on how member states will implement the Directive. Backstage manoeuvres to introduce barriers and protectionist rules that risk hampering access to new entrants in the market have to be avoided.” The FFPI added that it would continue to work to ensure that “potential cases of delayed or partial market opening and regulatory requirements set up by member states that create significant barriers to entry are exposed”. The European Parliament’s Socialist group also welcomed Parliament’s vote, saying the directive now contains the necessary guarantees on the universal service and its financing, and on the protection of postal workers and their employment conditions. But Green MEPs lashed out at the directive, saying it will undermine the universal provision of postal services, particularly hitting those in rural, peripheral or mountainous regions “whose access to other modes of communication is already reduced in many cases”. Austrian Green MEP Eva Lichtenberger said: “The proposal fails to provide adequate guarantees for financing the provision of a universal service, which would mean private operators can reap the benefits of profitable routes, leaving the taxpayer ultimately responsible if the provision of a universal service is to continue.” The group also highlighted its concern that “employment and social standards for those working in the sector would deteriorate under the current proposals. Previous liberalisations […] have led to employment conditions being frittered away. Without sufficient guarantees, this risks occurring with this liberalisation,” it commented.

The communist-led GUE-NGL group agreed that the directive was a “step backwards for workers and their rights”. “My group fears that this directive will jeopardise guarantees and lead to bad working conditions and even worse labour agreements. We remain firmly against this liberalisation, which is bad for workers and bad for consumers,” said Dutch MEP Erik Meijer. “A dark area remains concerning the social consequences on workers as well as on consumers of this blatant liberal act,” added Cypriot MEP Kyriacos Triantaphyllides.

From Eur Activ

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