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Development of Community postal services
To determine the main objectives to be achieved in developing postal services in the Community.
Council resolution of 7 February 1994 on the development of Community postal services [Official Journal C 48 of 16.02.1994].
In this resolution the Council sets out the main objectives to be achieved in developing the Community's postal services, namely to:
create a universal Community service comprising a minimum set of quality services which must be provided in each Member State, must be available to all users without discrimination at reasonable prices and must be economically and financially viable;
- further the gradual liberalization of the market and guarantee the provision of a universal, durable service;
- set national and Community quality standards (including the requirement that national standards must be compatible with Community standards), ensure that quality is monitored independently and ensure publication of the results;
- establish tariff principles for the universal service based on real costs;
- introduce a terminal dues system based on real costs and quality;
- encourage the harmonization of technical standards;
- ensure that fair conditions of competition prevail;
- separate the regulatory and operational functions in the Member States;
- take into account the importance of users' and consumers' needs and the interests of employees in the postal sector;
- take into account the objectives of cohesion.
To achieve these objectives, the Council invites the Commission to submit proposals by 1 July 1994:
- defining the universal service (i.e. the obligations of providers of the service and the services which could be reserved);
- containing measures relating to the quality of the universal Community service;
concerning technical standardization.
- The measures are to be transparent, simple and easy to manage in order to facilitate monitoring and enforcement.
The Commission is also asked to make an active contributiion to the defining of a framework for a new terminal dues system and to forward to the Council, by 1 March 1994, any other measures it considers necessary in this area.
The Council concludes by inviting the Member States to support the above objectives, to work in association with the Commission (in the Senior Officials Group for Postal Matters (SOGP)) and with a high-level committee of the national regulatory authorities, and to conduct discussions with their respective providers of the universal service with a view to reaching agreement on a new system of terminal dues (which must be compatible with the other systems).
5) FOLLOW-UP WORK
On 26 July 1995 the Commission put forward a draft communication from the Commission on the application of the competition rules in the postal sector and, in particular, the assessment of certain State measures concerning postal services [SEC(95) 830 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
The draft describes the approach the Commission intends to take when addressing the compatibility of State measures restricting the freedom to provide services and/or to compete in the postal markets with the competition rules of the Treaty. It confirms the Members States' right to maintain, at this stage, a defined area of reserved services.
On 17 October 1996, the Commission presented a communication to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the public consultation on the draft Notice on the application of the competition rules to the postal sector and, in particular, on the assessment of certain State measures relating to postal services [COM(96) 480 final - Not published in the Offical Journal].
The aim of this communication is to give the results of this public consultation on the draft referred to above.