European Parliament: Yes-vote to e-commerce driven change in postal services, but no action

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Under the lead of rapporteur Markus Ferber (EPP), Members of European Parliament just finalized the own-initiative report on the Application of the Postal Services Directive. The report assesses the application of current European postal legislation. The politicians agreed on several priorities in postal legislation, which are expected to feed into the new parcel delivery regulation currently under discussion in Brussels as well. However, for the e-commerce sector, the biggest consumer of the postal services, faster change in the market is needed.

Protecting public services vs. drivers of innovation

The ultimate conclusion of the report, which was supported by the European Commission representative in the room, is that the Universal Service Obligation for postal operators should be maintained as stated in the current Postal Services Directive. However, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) in general also noticed that the postal market has been changing due to the explosive rise of e-commerce packages being sent all over Europe. Whereas Ecommerce Europe believes that competition and market forces are the best driver for the needed adaptations in the sector, something which conservative MEP Jacky Foster recognized as well, most MEPs voted for protecting the national public services.

Demand from the e-commerce sector

Ecommerce Europe is convinced that high European delivery performance is a key driver for success for web merchants and their business models. Merchants and consumers need a European-wide delivery system with open standards for labelling and data interfaces to carrier data in order to create more innovation and greater transparency in the logistic chain. Additionally, more options are needed, including different offers, alternative affordable delivery options, more flexibility, more information and transparency from delivery service providers. Members of European Parliament have recognized the need for more interoperability to facilitate cross-border growth, but it still remains to be seen if they will put this demand into action in the Parcel Delivery Regulation currently under negotiation.

Ecommerce Europe: The e-commerce sector as determining stakeholder

By not just participating in all relevant institutional stakeholder groups but also tabling the e-commerce sectors’ demands on the agenda (for example towards the Istanbul Congress of the UPU), Ecommerce Europe’s voice is clearly heard. Ecommerce Europe has taken an active role to determine how cross-border e-commerce should develop by assuming Chairmanship of several institutional committees (like the CEN Standardization Committee on Postal Services – TC331, its current Work Item 109 (“Postal services – Harmonised label and Interfaces for cross border parcels”)). Moreover, by actively contributing to the content of the next implementing decision of the European Commission on a standardization request to CEN under mandate of the EU[1] Ecommerce Europe actively brings stakeholders together to discuss and make changes on how to cater to the online merchants’ needs and to achieve more innovation and greater transparency in the logistics chain.

Next steps – get involved!

Next to the actions above, Ecommerce Europe continues to liaise with Members of European Parliament, national governments, as well as the European Commission to voice online merchants’ deamnds. In September, the association will launch an update to its e-Logistics Manifesto and will bring key stakeholders together in a high-level roundtable on the new European Commission Proposal for a Regulation on Parcel Delivery. If you would like to learn more on how you could get involved, please do not hesitate to contact Stefanie Ros at: stefanieros@ecommerce-europe.eu.

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