Postal Consumers in the EU and in Local Markets: From Users of Universal Services to Users of All (Digital) Postal Services How Does EU and National Law Facilitate Consumers in the Digital Postal Market?
Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance Research Paper No. 2019-02
28 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2019
Date Written: November 19, 2019
Postal services play a vital role in people’s life across the EU and affordable and reliable postal services are essential to realize the EU’s Digital Single Market. The liberalization of the postal sector and the establishment of a single market for postal services in the EU has been pursued progressively by opening up national postal markets to competition. Protection of postal service users is strongly intertwined with the concept of universal service in postal services. This is partly due to the fact that universal service (US) is deep-rooted in EU law of postal services, more than in any other areas of EU law in regulated market.
The relationship between US and consumer protection is a fundamental area of EU law concerning postal consumers. At the same time, this relationship is a fragmented area of EU law in general, and EU postal services law in specific. The relationship between consumer protection and universal service is, in fact, an under-researched area in EU law studies.
This fragmentation has further increased as a result of the emerging disconnection between the EU (and national) legal framework of postal services and due to increased digitalization and the rise of electronic communications. Accordingly, analyzing the fragmented relationship between US and consumer rules is key to answer the fundamental question of who the postal consumer is and which EU rules have tangible effects for her legal position. In view of the above, this paper will focus on the following research question:
How does EU law facilitate the different (vulnerable and the active) consumers in the digital postal market?
Keywords: EU law, postal services, consumer law, universal service, liberalization, digitalization
JEL Classification: K2, K23, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation