Postal services play a key role for citizens and businesses in the single market.
Employing about 1.5 million people, the the postal services – including express services – is major source of jobs in the EU
Postal Services and the Single Market – why does it matter?
With the Postal Services Directive, the EU is working to create a single market in 2 stages:
- introducing competition by gradually opening up markets (completed at the end of 2012);
- ensuring that affordable, reliable, high quality postal services are permanently available throughout the EU.
- Public prices are increasing over time, both for letters from one EU country to another than for post in a single country.
- All countries charge much more for deliveries abroad.
- The biggest gaps between the cost of sending post from one country to another and sending post in a single country occur mainly in some eastern EU countries.
Priority mail prices in EUR (2019)
- The Commission will continue to monitor the performance of EU countries in this area closely.
- It will also carried out an evaluation of the Postal Services Directive.
Facts and figures
Domestic transit time performance
Transit time is the time it takes to deliver postal items. This is measured from the time of dispatch (when a person posts a item) to the its arrival at the final destination (when the postal service delivers the item to the house or premises of the recipient).
Using the same methodology as in the EU postal sector study, the chart above shows the percentage of priority mail delivered by the next working day (D+1), in the same country.
It divides EU countries into 3 groups, on the basis of (1) their GDP per capita and (2) when they joined the EU:
- western countries – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden.
- southern countries – Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.
- eastern countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Under the universal service obligation, Member States must ensure a basic postal service is available. This includes:
- collecting, sorting, transporting and distributing letters weighing up to 2 kg and parcels weighing up to 10 kg
- services for registered and insured items
- deliveries at least 5 working days a week
- charging affordable prices
- services being available to all members of the public.
The postal sector is changing rapidly. Letter traffic has fallen in many countries, partly because of the growth in digital communications. However, the growth in e-commerce has increased the number of parcels being handled by postal services. So it is important for the postal industry to make it easier to deliver physical goods bought online.
The figures are based on data on postal services collected by the Commission.