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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/165

(2001/C 26 E/204) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1393/00
by Elly Plooij-van Gorsel (ELDR) to the Commission

(27 April 2000)

Subject: Cross-subsidisation and State support in the postal industry

Article 14 of Directive 97/67/EC (1) stipulates that Member States must take the measures necessary to
ensure that universal service providers keep separate accounts, in order to preclude cross-subsidisation.
Liberalised and non-liberalised services must keep separate accounts. A clear distinction must also be made
between services which are part of the universal service and services which are not.

2. Does the Commission agree that keeping separate accounts is essential to prevent the cross-
subsidisation of activities?

2. How does the Commission supervise compliance with the rules on separate accounts? Is such
supervision effective?

In Germany the Deutsche Post AG has the statutory monopoly for the delivery of letters up to 200 grams
and ‘direct mail’ up to 50 grams. The monopoly will expire at the earliest on 31 December 2002.

3. Does the Commission consider it permissible to use the profits from State monopolies (such as the
Deutsche Post) to subsidise liberalised postal services?

5. Does the Commission consider that investing the profits from State monopolies in liberalised postal
services via cross-subsidisation is a form of state support that is incompatible with the Treaty?

5. If it does, what does this imply for present and future cases in which the situation described in
Question 4 occurs?

(1) OJ L 15, 21.1.1998, p. 14.

Joint answer
to Written Questions P-1392/00 and P-1393/00
given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(6 June 2000)

1. The separation of accounts is a key factor in ensuring that the accounts of universal service providers
are transparent, and in highlighting any cross-subsidies between different activities, particularly those
concerning the areas of monopoly and competition. To this end, Article 14 of 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 (1) stipulates
that separate accounts must be kept.

2. In its role as guardian of the Treaties and secondary Community legislation, the Commission
monitors the national transposition measures to ensure that the Member States implement the provisions
laid down by Directive 97/67/EC. The Commission has also recently asked the Member States for details of
their arrangements for implementing Article 14, as the deadline for transposing this measure expired on
10 February 2000.

3. to 5. The use of profits from State monopolies to assist services which are open to competition may,
in certain cases, be contrary to the Community rules on competition. In this respect, the Commission
would ask the Honourable Member to refer to its position as explained in its notice of 6 February 1998 (2).
The situation with the accounts of the German postal service, Deutsche Post AG, is currently being
examined by the Commission within the context of the rules on State aid. As this examination is still
under way, it is not possible to give any final results.

(1) OJ L 15, 21.1.1998.
(2) Notice from the Commission on the application of the competition rules to the postal sector and on the assessment
of certain State measures relating to postal services, OJ C 39, 6.2.1998.