EC agrees Belgian plans for bpost compensation

The European Commission has agreed to permit the planned compensation from the Belgian government to the national postal operator bpost for the next financial year after the government notified it of its plans.

The Belgian government needs a range of services from bpost and as such this was deemed in line with the EC’s rules. The EC published a statement that said, “In particular Belgium intends to compensate bpost in the period 2016 to 2020 for the provision of certain public services. These include maintaining a post office network throughout Belgium, delivering pension payments, providing universal cash at counter services, delivering printed material related to elections as well as distributing recognised newspapers and periodicals in Belgium.”

The EC statement added, “The Commission’s assessment showed that the compensation granted to bpost for the provision of these services is based on a robust methodology, which ensures that it will not exceed the cost of the public service mission. This compensation mechanism also includes incentives for bpost to increase the efficiency and quality of its public services.

“Finally, the task of delivering recognised newspapers and periodicals has been entrusted to bpost following an open, transparent and non-discriminatory tender. This is in line with Belgium’s commitment under the Commission’s May 2013 decision endorsing the public service compensation for bpost between 2013 and 2015.

“On this basis, the Commission concluded that the Belgian measures are in line with EU state aid rules.”

Even though many postal operators are private enterprises, their governments will require certain services only available with a Universal Service Obligation. Where different government regulators take different views to how such a relationship is managed, there are regulations in place within the EU that are in place to ensure that these work throughout the EU.