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Parcel delivery in the EU

Parcel delivery in the EU

Affordable, high-quality cross-border delivery services can build trust in cross-border online sales. The cost and efficiency of parcel delivery should not be an obstacle to cross-border e-commerce. The Commission aims to improve delivery services for consumers and SMEs, ensure cost-effective solutions and promote interoperability of delivery services between operators, and operators and e-retailers.

In the spotlight

Proposal for a Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services

On 25 May 2016 the Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services, as part of a package of measures to allow consumers and companies to buy and sell products and services online more easily and confidently across the EU.

Consumers and small businesses complain that problems with parcel delivery, in particular high delivery charges for cross-border services, prevent them from selling or buying more across the EU. The aim of the proposal is to increase price transparency and regulatory oversight of cross-border parcel delivery services so that individual consumers and small e- retailers can benefit from more affordable deliveries and convenient return options, even to and from peripheral regions.

The Regulation will give national postal regulators the data they need to monitor cross-border markets and check the affordability of prices. It will also encourage competition by requiring transparent and non-discriminatory third-party access to certain cross-border parcel delivery services and infrastructure. The Commission will publish the public list prices of universal service providers to increase peer competition and tariff transparency.

The proposal complements self-regulatory initiatives to improve the quality and convenience of cross-border parcel delivery services linked to the Roadmap for completing the Single Market for parcel delivery (see below).

Press release

Frequently asked questions

The Digital Single Market: Affordable, high-quality cross-border parcel delivery (2015)

The need to enhance the quality and affordability of cross-border parcel delivery has been identified as a priority in the EU's policy to facilitate e-commerce, and to create a Digital Single Market for the European Union. The Commission will launch measures and promote further action by industry in the first half of 2016 to improve price transparency and enhanced regulatory oversight of parcel delivery.

The Commission has published a consultation to seek the views of all interested parties on cross-border delivery issues and possible areas for improvement that could enhance the cross-border parcel delivery market within the EU. A lack of delivery features is considered to be an obstacle for both e-retailers and consumers, hindering their further participation in e-commerce, particularly across borders.

Public consultation on cross-border parcel delivery

On 6 May 2015, the European Commission launched a public consultation on cross-border parcel delivery. Delivery features and high prices are amongst the top concerns for both consumers and e-retailers, preventing them from buying more from or selling to other EU countries. The purpose of this public consultation was to consult all interested parties on the main issues and possible areas for improvement that could enhance cross-border delivery services when items are purchased online across the EU.

This public consultation ran from 6 May to 29 June 2015.

Roadmap for completing the Single Market for parcel delivery (2013)

E-commerce has significant potential for contributing to economic growth and employment. Through this Roadmap, the Commission aimed to ensure quick improvements in parcel delivery. The Commission will assess the actions taken by industry on quality and investment aspects like 'track and trace' and speedy delivery of parcels in summer 2015.

Public consultation on an integrated delivery market to boost e-commerce in the EU (2012)

In 2012, the Commission launched a Green Paper consultation on the cross-border delivery of parcels. The consultation was focused on cross-border issues and e-commerce needs.

LinkedIn group on improving parcel delivery in European e-commerce

The Commission set up a LinkedIn group with interested parties (retailers, delivery operators and consumers). This online and permanent workshop allows participants to share practical concerns when shipping across borders, learn about solutions that others are developing, and contribute ideas that help achieve a better 'Single Market for parcel delivery'.

Some of the main questions addressed are:

  • How can e-retailers improve the delivery-related information on their websites?
  • How can e-retailers obtain better information on available delivery options when exporting to other EU countries?
  • What can be done to improve the tracking and tracing of parcels when they are delivered by more than one operator?
  • What can be done to help customers get hold of their parcels in a convenient way?
  • How can returns be organised in a more convenient and efficient manner?
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