Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

International activities

International activities

UPU (Universal Postal Union)

Established in 1874, the UPU has 192 member countries. It is the primary forum for cooperation between governments, designated postal operators, national regulatory authorities and many other postal-sector stakeholders. The UPU:

  • maintains a universal postal network;
  • establishes the rules for international mail exchanges among its member countries;
  • makes recommendations to modernise products and services, stimulate mail volume growth and improve the quality of service for customers.

The Universal Postal Union Congress 2012 (Doha)

The Congress of the UPU is its supreme authority and consists of representatives from its member countries. It takes place every four years. The 25th Congress of the UPU took place in Doha, Qatar in 2012. From a European perspective, the Doha Congress was very successful:

  • it unanimously adopted a resolution granting the EU formal observer status. The EU will now have a formal role in all UPU bodies, even though it will still not be a member of this UN specialised agency.
  • following a proposal by EU countries, the congress amended the UPU convention to introduce advance electronic information as a future requirement for postal traffic (excluding postcards and letters). In the coming four-year cycle, these requirements will have to be implemented and the EU will play an important role in this with other UPU member countries.
  • a new Terminal Dues System regulating payments between public operators for the conveyance of cross-border mail was approved. The new system will increasingly be based on costs and be linked to the quality of services provided. This may eventually bring it closer to what is already the norm in the EU’s postal regulation.
  • a new regular conference on postal regulation was established, giving independent regulators a more prominent role.

The next (26th) UPU Congress will be held in Istanbul, Turkey in 2016. With a new formal role, the EU is ready to actively participate in this process.

CERP (Committee of European Postal Regulators)

CERP brings together representatives of ministries and regulatory authorities in postal services from 46 states. It is an important network and an essential partner for the Commission when it comes to international issues beyond the EU.

GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services)

The EU aims to update and improve international rules to ensure fair trade and to harness globalisation and promote greater trade with WTO member countries. The EU would like to see further trade opportunities for the postal sector and has made a conditional offer on postal services, consistent with the market openings achieved in the EU following the Postal Directive (Directive 97/67/EC). Read the text of the offer (162 kB).

Postal services in bilateral trade negotiations

The EU is firmly committed to the promotion of open and fair trade with all its trading partners. In addition to the global-level negotiations within the World Trade Organization (WTO), known as the "Doha Development Agenda", the EU conducts a number of negotiations with countries and regions around the world. The EU has successfully concluded a number of important trade agreements with trading partners and is in the process of negotiating agreements with many more. Postal services form an important part of these agreements in terms of regulatory provisions and commitments.