European Public Services Briefing 1: European Union Competition policy and the Liberalisation of Postal Services, Andy Morton

The European dimension to postal sector liberalisation is often overlooked as successive UK governments have pursued the liberalisation route for its universal postal service: the Royal Mail. Postal sectors in Europe, traditionally dominated by public sector monopolies, have been progressively opened up to increased competition courtesy of European Union (EU) directives, introduced since the mid-1990s as part of EU’s competition agenda and Single Market Programme. This long process of phased liberalisation has come to fruition recently with the last remnants of universal service providers’ protected services being abolished. On January 1st 2011 the Directive introducing ‘full’ liberalisation into European postal sectors was introduced the EU.