More transparent and affordable cross-border parcel delivery? Coreper meeting the Council formally confirmed the provisional trialogue agreement

Today, in Coreper meeting the Council formally confirmed the provisional trialogue agreement found in the evening of the 13th of December between representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the EU on the cross-border parcel delivery. This new legislation should make delivery services more transparent and affordable and increase regulatory oversight of the EU cross-border parcel market. 

“High and often very different prices of cross-border delivery services are one of the biggest obstacles not only for customers, but also for retailers,” said Pavel Telička, vice-president of the European Parliament, who is one of shadow rapporteurs for the report on cross-border parcel delivery services. “After the votes failed in July as a result of the lobbying of some large operators, I did not have much hope about the second version of the text. But now I can not say that I am disappointed by the outcome. We have succeeded in asserting all the priorities of the ALDE group and especially all that concerned e-commerce. I have no doubt about the positive impact on customers,” Telička added. 

The European Commission presented a legislative proposal on cross-border parcel delivery services as a part of broader e-commerce package. It should be a key pillar of the Commission’s efforts to boost internet business. Affordable and more transparent parcel delivery services will help both customers and companies to buy and sell more cross-border on the Internet. “Nowadays, customers have to face many obstacles, including unjustifiably different prices. Cross-border parcel delivery is sometimes not only expensive but also confusing regarding conditions,” Telička said. 

Prices of cross-border parcel delivery differ from one state to another. High cross-border parcel prices do not always reflect the underlying costs involved. For example, the price of a comparable standard 2kg parcel could be very high from one country and much lower from another, even if both have similar labour costs and the parcels will travel a similar distance. Studies found that to send a parcel from the Netherlands to Spain would cost 8.73 EUR, while to do the same thing in reverse would cost 30.37 EUR. The cross-border parcel prices are on average 3 to 5 times higher than their domestic equivalent for all products. 

Provisional agreement does not implement any price caps. Telička has refused any price regulation. However, the agreement will increase the competitive pressure by providing consumers simple comparison of both domestic and cross-border tariffs, including between different operators. The legislation will also strengthen the regulatory oversight and national regulators capacity will have the power to identify the most advantageous parcel services and offers. 

The provisional agreement must now be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. It is expected to formally enter into force at the beginning of the next year and it will be fully applicable in 2019.

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