Postal services

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Publication Date 19/09/2018
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Postal services are systems for physically transporting postcards, letters, and parcels. A postal service can be private or public. Proof of payment is often in the form of adhesive postage stamps, but postafe meters are also used for bulk mailing.

Further information:

Since the mid-19th century, national postal systems have generally been established as government monopolies, with a fee on the article prepaid. In present time there are still many governments placing restrictions on private systems. Modern private postal systems are typically distinguished from national postal agencies by the names 'courier' or 'delivery service'.

Postal authorities often have functions other than transporting letters. In some countries, a postal, telegraph and telephone (PTT) service oversees the postal system, in addition to telephone and telegraph systems. Some countries' postal systems allow for savings accounts and handle applications for passports.

In the European Union, the process of liberalising the postal services market was initially set in motion by the Green Paper on the development of the single market for postal services in 1992. The aim was to get national monopolies to open up to competition in order to make postal services cheaper, faster, more efficient and more innovative, harmonise performance across EU Member States and improve the quality of cross border-services.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Wikipedia: Mail
Wikipedia: List of national postal services in Europe
EFTA: EEA and Relations with the EU: Postal Services
EPRS: Study, December 2019: Research for TRAN Committee - Postal services in the EU

European Commission: DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs: Postal Services
European Commission: European Regulators Group for Postal Services
Eurostat: Historical publications on postal services (-2012)

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