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C 155 E/20 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.

2003

(2003/C 155 E/019) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2432/02


by Graham Watson (ELDR) to the Commission

(26 August 2002)

Subject: Postal services

Following a decision by the Director General Competition in March last year, Deutsche Post was fined for
having abused its dominant position in the German letter market. How does the Commission plan to
follow up implementation of some of the commitments made by Deutsche Post in that decision?

What guarantees exist that Deutsche Post will not repeat these practices, and that other operators will not
suffer unfair competition?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(8 October 2002)

The Honourable Member refers to the decision taken by the Commission in March 2001 concerning
Deutsche Post AG’s (DPAG) abuse of its dominant position in the German letter market.

In fact, the Commission took two decisions under Article 82 of the EC Treaty against DPAG in 2001, in
March and July, respectively. The Decision taken in March 2001 concerned DPAG’s behaviour in the
German parcel market, whereas the Decision taken in July 2001 concerned the delivery of international
letter mail in Germany.

In the Decision of 20 March 2001 (1)  often referred to as ‘Deutsche Post I’  the Commission concluded
that DPAG had abused its dominant position in the German market for the delivery of mail-order parcels
by engaging in predatory pricing and granting fidelity rebates. During the proceedings DPAG undertook to
(a) create a separate business parcel subsidiary, (b) ensure that all services the new entity procures from
DPAG will be bought at market rates and (c) offer the same services at the same conditions as those
offered to its new subsidiary to competing postal operators. Article 2 of the Decision obliges DPAG to
report to the Commission costs, revenue, transfer prices as well as the rebates given to its six largest mail-
order customers. These obligations apply for three years. The first accounting year of the new subsidiary
expires on 31 December 2002. The Commission considers these measures sufficient to adequately monitor
DPAG’s behaviour.

In the ‘Deutsche Post II’ Decision of 25 July 2001 (2), the Commission found that DPAG had abused its
dominant position by intercepting, surcharging and delaying international letter mail coming in from the
United Kingdom. To ensure that DPAG abstains from these or similar measures in the future, the
Commission procured an undertaking from DPAG to introduce a procedure for the processing of
incoming international letter mail which facilitates detection of future infringements, should they occur.
The Commission is monitoring the developments in the German market for international letter delivery. In
order to assess the current situation the Commission has written letters to a number of postal operators
and customers which had previously experienced similar problems in getting their international mail
delivered to addressees in Germany.

Finally, it should be emphasised that the Commission must to a certain extent rely on information from
market operators if DPAG’s abuses are repeated. So far, the Commission has not received any indications
that DPAG should have failed to meet the obligations imposed on it in the two Decisions. It goes without
saying that the Commission will immediately act upon receipt of such indications.

(1) Deutsche Post I, Commission Decision 2001/354/EC  OJ L 125, 5.5.2001.


(2) Deutsche Post II, Commission Decision 2001/892/EC  OJ L 331, 15.12.2001.