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Economic and Social Policies, PUBLICATIONS, Structural and Cohesion Policies

Postal services: towards the creation of an integrated European parcel delivery market

On 29 November 2012, the European Commission adopted a Green Paper consultation on the delivery of parcels, with special emphasis on cross-border issues and e-commerce needs. The Green Paper builds on the Commission’s Communication on e-commerce and online services of 15 January 2012, which identified delivery as one of the top five priorities to help boost e-commerce by 2015.

Boosting the economy

parcel

 E-commerce is widely acknowledged as a key contributor to economic growth and increasing employment levels across the European Union. The internet economy has brought about 21% of the growth in GDP in the last five years. It also generates 2.6 jobs for every job cut and at times accounts for 25% of net employment creation (COM (2011) 942 final). The importance of the delivery of goods purchased online to boost e-commerce has been reiterated by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. Delivery is indeed critical as it has a substantial impact on facilitating e-commerce trade and is a key element for building trust between sellers and buyers.

Current situation

The European parcel delivery market, estimated to be worth €42.4 billion in 2008, is still highly fragmented. The situation varies from one state to the next depending on the maturity of national markets and consumers’ practices. It presents serious weaknesses with respect to prices, which are often still high for consumers and SMEs, and reliability (losses, damage, timely delivery, return conditions, etc). Its low level of integration, especially for cross-border trade, compromises the development of e-commerce, a key sector for European economic growth. Some 57% of retailers and 46.7% of consumers reported having problems with the delivery of items bought in another state, which undermines confidence in this type of transaction.

Scope

With this Green Paper, the Commission will collect information on the current state of the delivery market for products bought online, and identify any potential hurdles for the creation of an EU-wide integrated parcel delivery market. Furthermore, it will seek stakeholders’ views on how best to serve the interests of customers, businesses and end-consumers.

On the basis of the information collected, the Commission will identify solutions to help improve cross-border parcel delivery, notably with regard to prices, “convenience” for customers, and interoperability.

Everyone is concerned…

Virtually anyone who sends or receives parcels is affected by this initiative and therefore strongly encouraged to participate. Responses to this wide-ranging consultation should be received by February 15, 2013 at the latest.

More information:

Press release (29.11.2012)

Frequently Asked Questions (background MEMO)

Video illustrating problems faced by e-retailer (Youtube)

Report of the “Study on intra-comunity cross-border parcel delivery” (European Commission, 2011)

European parcel group initiative: made up of 27 postal parcel operators committed to deliver their priority parcel products through an integrated delivery network.

Eurobarometer, Business attitude Towards cross-border sales and consumer protection, Analytical report, Flash Eurobarometer 224, July 2008

About Geert Plas

Polyvalent information specialist at the European Parliament Library

Discussion

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