The Postal Users Forum is an initiative launched by Commissioner Barnier to get feedback from users (consumers and businesses) on postal services in Europe. The 2d edition took place on November 16. Participants were again very positive about this approach: interactive discussions, no formal speeches nor power points, but direct and very lively dialogue with users. MEPs Roza Thun and Saïd El Kadraoui joined the debate and interacted with the participants.
Commissioner Barnier chaired the Postal Users Forum on December 12. The Forum brought together postal services users (end consumers, SMEs, businesses and e-retailers) and postal operators (marketing/sales) to analyse the effects of postal liberalisation and seek constructive ways to deliver better postal services to customers. More than 120 participants attended the Forum and were very positive on the possiblity to give directly their feedback on the effects of the European postal reform.
After over ten years of gradual legislative reform, Europe is on the cusp of realising the creation of an internal market for postal services.
By 1st of January 2011, well in excess of 90% of the EU postal market will be open to competition thus paving the way for further improvements in the variety and quality of services to businesses and citizens and how these are provided.
The European Commission and the Spanish Presidency co-hosted a High Level Conference on Postal Services in Valencia on 29-30 April 2010. The Conference, which took place just eight months before 16 of the 27 Member States open their postal markets, provided a unique forum for informed discussion on the prerequisites for successful market opening, ensuring greater competitiveness across the postal sector and overcoming the challenges faced by regulatory bodies.
The Conference brought together a host of policy makers, national regulatory authorities, chief executive officers from public and private postal operators, political figures from Community institutions and Member States and a broad range of stakeholders.
Keynote speakers addressed a range of overarching issues underpinning market opening. These were followed by intensive discussion by panellists convened in four panels and moderated by experts in appropriate fields. The panels discussed such diverse issues as preparing for an open market, the role of regulators, cross-border delivery and e-commerce and international aspects of postal regulation.
The Spanish Presidency and the Commission are convinced that further reform is the best way forward for the postal sector. Only the successful implementation of the postal reform will ensure that postal service providers will be able to provide their customers with all those services that are appropriate for the digital age.
Charlie McCreevy, Internal Market and Services Commissioner, hosted a high level conference on postal reform in Brussels on the 24th June 2008. The Conference discussed the opportunities for businesses and consumers in a liberalised postal market, universal services in a competitive market and regulatory challenges to ensure the benefits of postal reform can be realised.
The conference marked the start of a new and crucial stage of postal reform. The recent adoption of the 3rd Postal Directive (2008/6/EC) in February 2008 by the European Parliament and Council means there will be full market opening by 31st December 2010 for the majority of Member States. It brings accomplishment of an internal market for postal services closer to reality.
Commissioner McCreevy delivered a strong message at the conference that creating a sustainable internal postal market is a joint responsibility, that the Directive must be correctly transposed, and that the creation of barriers to entry will not be tolerated. As Commissioner McCreevy recently said "A Directive means little if it is not properly transposed in national law and rigorously implemented on the ground. We have to be vigilant to ensure that what is given by one hand is not taken away by the other."
Key note speakers at the Conference included Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes, the rapporteur of the Directive in the European Parliament Markus Ferber (MEP), the Portuguese Minister for Public Works, Transport and Communications Mário Lino and the Greek Minister of Transport and Communications Kostas Hatzidakis.