Richtlijn 2008/6 - Wijziging van Richtlijn 97/67/EG wat betreft de volledige voltooiing van de interne markt voor postdiensten in de EG


Samenvatting van Wetgeving

Postal services in the EU


Directive 97/67/EC on common rules for the development of the internal market of EU postal services and service quality improvement


The main aims of the postal services directive are to:

  • establish an internal market for postal services;
  • open the postal market to competition;
  • guarantee a sustainable universal postal service for all users in the European Union;
  • harmonise technical standards.

The original directive has been amended several times, some of the most important amendments being in Directive 2008/6/EC.


The directive sets out common rules concerning:

  • the conditions governing the provision of postal services;
  • the minimum standards for the universal postal service, in particular
    • the setting of quality standards in relation to delivery time
    • compliance with tariff principles (cost orientation, non-discrimination, transparency) and transparency of accounts for the universal postal service
    • the financing of the universal postal service under conditions that can guarantee its permanency (sustainability);

The universal postal service obligation

EU countries are obliged to guarantee a permanent, affordable, universal postal service everywhere within their territory, i.e. they have to guarantee as a minimum the following:

  • a service (collection from access points and delivery) on 5 working days a week (with exceptions);
  • the collection, sorting, transport and delivery of postal items weighing up to 10 kg;
  • services for registered and insured items.

EU countries may designate one or more companies as universal service providers so that the whole territory is covered. This designation is subject to regular review.

Financing of the universal postal service

EU countries are not allowed to grant exclusive or special rights to provide postal services. They may, however, compensate the universal service provider if there is a net cost established and this represents an unfair financial burden in accordance with the EU treaties (e.g. State aid, public procurement, cost-sharing mechanism*).


Universal service tariffs must comply in particular with the following principles.

  • They must
    • be affordable for all users
    • be transparent and non-discriminatory
    • be cost-oriented and give incentives, for an efficient universal service provision.
  • Uniform tariffs may be maintained for public policy reasons.
  • If there are special tariffs (e.g. for businesses), these should be non-discriminatory and transparent.

EU countries may provide a free postal service for blind and partially sighted persons.

Quality of services

  • EU countries have to draw up quality standards for their domestic universal postal service (i.e. delivery times from end to end).
  • Quality standards for intra-EU services are set out in Annex II of the directive.
  • Independent performance monitoring must be carried out at least once a year.

For cross-border mail within the EU, Annex II of the directive requires:

  • 85 % of cross-border mail in the fastest standard category to be delivered within 3 working days; and
  • 97 % to be delivered within 5 working days.

Complaints procedures

A transparent, simple and inexpensive procedure must be available to deal with user complaints, with disputes settled fairly and promptly.

Technical harmonisation

Technical harmonisation is undertaken on the basis of a standardisation request from the Commission by Technical Committee 331 of CEN.

Regulatory authorities

EU countries have to establish independent national regulatory authorities that should be provided with all the necessary resources in terms of staffing, expertise and financial means, and carry out the tasks they have been designated by the directive, in particular relating to:

  • the universal service
  • authorisation procedures
  • tariff controls and accounts
  • service quality
  • supply of information and statistics.

Provision of information

EU countries must ensure that service providers provide information to the national regulatory authorities, including financial information and information relating to the universal service, in particular for 2 purposes:

  • to ensure conformity with this directive; and
  • for clearly defined statistical purposes.

Cross-border parcel delivery services

In 2018, Regulation (EU) 2018/644 on cross-border parcel deliveries was adopted. This regulation complements the rules set out in Directive 97/67/EC, which focuses mainly but not exclusively on universal services, in order to address:

  • regulatory oversight
  • the transparency of cross-border tariffs, and
  • the assessment of cross-border, single-piece tariffs.


Directive 97/67/EC has applied since 10 February 1998. It had to become law in EU countries by 14 February 1999.

Amending Directive 2008/6/EC has applied since 27 February 2008. It had to become law in 16 EU countries by 31 December 2010 and in the remaining 11 countries by 31 December 2012.


For more information, see:


*Cost-sharing: rules are laid down with regard to the financing of any net cost of the universal service in the event that a net cost arises and represents an unfair financial burden.


Directive 97/67/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 1997 on common rules for the development of the internal market of Community postal services and the improvement of quality of service (OJ L 15, 21.1.1998, pp. 14-25)

Successive amendments to Directive 97/67/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Regulation (EU) 2018/644 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 April 2018 on cross-border parcel delivery services (OJ L 112, 2.5.2018, pp. 19-28)

Commission Decision of 10 August 2010 establishing the European Regulators Group for Postal Services (OJ C 217, 11.8.2010, pp. 7-9)

last update 10.12.2018

Deze samenvatting is overgenomen van EUR-Lex.



Richtlijn 2008/6/EG van het Europees Parlement en de Raad van 20 februari 2008 tot wijziging van Richtlijn 97/67/EG wat betreft de volledige voltooiing van de interne markt voor postdiensten in de Gemeenschap