Foreign ownership of Royal Mail is inevitable and unavoidable under European Union competition rules, and the EU is squarely to blame for the current wave of post office closures and redundancies. That’s the message from the cross-party Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB).
Hundreds of thousands of CIB leaflets on the EU threat to Britain ’s postal services are being distributed in High Streets and at protest meetings throughout Britain . They are the latest in a series of “Time for Truth” leaflets which explain the extent of the EU’s control over our everyday lives.
CIB shows how the closure of thousands of post offices across Britain , redundancies for tens of thousands of postal workers, the sell-off of Royal Mail and the threat of foreign ownership are all the direct consequences of EU competition law. CIB points out that a key objective of the EU is to impose competition throughout the whole of its territory regardless of whether or not a national monopoly is beneficial to the local community.
The leaflet states: EU Directive 97/67/EC on Privatization of Postal Services, issued on 15 December 1997, began the introduction of an EU-wide postal service and immediately reduced the Royal Mail’s monopoly to mail weighing less than 350 grammes. The delivery of mail over that weight was privatized, which meant that foreign companies, mainly the Dutch TNT and the German ‘Deutsche Post’ (trading as DHL), were able to cherry-pick the profitable areas of mail services in this country, leaving the loss making areas to the Royal Mail. Royal Mail profits plummeted.
A second Postal Services Directive in 2002 further reduced the Royal Mail monopoly to 50 grammes. From 2009 the Royal Mail monopoly will be phased out completely. Instructions from Brussels to Foreign Secretary David Miliband (dated 28 November 2007) leave no doubt that the EU is in control of our postal services. It unequivocally states: “The transformation programme will involve POL [Post Office Limited] reducing the size of its post office network by around 2,500 branches.”
The destruction of our Post Office network is being managed under the title “Network Change Programme” which, on its website, explains that the closures are necessary because “The Government has recognised that fewer people are using Post Office branches [and] … that the shape and size of the overall network of Post Office branches needs to change.” It fails to state that fewer people are using the post offices because the Government has been slowly and deliberately withdrawing services that the Post Office traditionally provided.
CIB Chairman George West adds: “The Government fails to mention the involvement of the EU and the real reason why our post offices are closing and Royal Mail is being sold off. It was the same with the privatisation of the railways under the previous Government. European law takes precedence over British law.
“Britain ’s Parliament ultimately has no say in the matter – unless of course it takes the radical action necessary to free this country from the constraints imposed by the EU. Again and again we see the negative consequences of our membership of the European Union, which currently costs Britain in excess of £55 billion a year. Britain would be better off out.”
The British postal monopoly dates back over 350 years. It was first established in law by the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, and was reaffirmed in the reign of King Charles II. “It is tragic that after three and a half centuries, like so much else that served the interests of the British people well for so many years, our national postal service has been broken up and is to be opened up to foreign ownership and control.”