National Assembly adopts the new Law on Postal Services

On 31 October 2019, the National Assembly of the Republic of the Serbia adopted the Law on Postal Services (the “Law”), published in the Official Gazette No. 77/2019 dated 31 October, 2019, effective eight days after publishing in the Official Gazette on 8 November 2019.

The new Law regulates in detail the liability of the postal operator for causing damage that has occurred in international postal traffic. These provisions primarily protect postal service users. The responsibility of the sender is also foreseen, which primarily relates to the exact identification of the addressee and the packaging of the parcels. These provisions are the result of a need arising from the practice of providing postal services. For this reason, the Law now stipulates that the postal operator will be obliged, upon receipt of value and purchase parcels, to inspect the identity documents with the photograph of the sender, as well as to register the registration number of the identity document. This practice is introduced by the legislature to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing and the trafficking of goods by unregistered entities. The Law also tightens the restriction on sending parcels with certain content. With regard to the obligations of postal operators, the Law now lays down in more detail the obligation to adopt general conditions for the provision of postal services, as well as an instruction on what those general conditions should contain. The new Law also stipulates that the public operator is obliged to allow other postal operators to access the postal network under known, transparent and non-discriminatory conditions for all users. In accordance with the provisions of the new Law, and in accordance with the directive of the European Union, postal operators will now carry out the procedure of keeping separate accounts. Under the new Law, the universal postal service provider is obliged to separate the income and expenses generated by the provision of the universal postal service from the income and expenses generated by other postal services. The Law extends the competence of the Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (the “Regulatory Body”). The Regulatory Body will now be involved in the out-of-court settlement of disputes between postal service users and postal operators. In addition, the Regulatory Authority will exercise professional oversight over the implementation of the Laws and other regulations governing the field of postal services. The Law also lowered the limit on the mass and price for the reserved postal service, the mass is now 50 gr, while the amount of postage for the fastest letter item is reduced to two and a half times, for this category of postal items. The application of these provisions will begin after Serbia’s accession to the European Union. With this changes the postal market will be completely liberalized.

The most important reason for the adoption of the new Law is the need to harmonize postal services in Serbia with the regulations of the European Union, but also with the acts of the World Postal Union and the requirements of the World Trade Organization. As a candidate country for EU membership, the Republic of Serbia has to align its law with EU directives in this field. In addition, in recent years there has been an accelerated development of postal services, notably the emergence of many new postal operators, which has also required regulatory alignment. After analyzing the previous Law on Postal Services of 2005, it was recognized that a lot of changes were needed. Above all, the changes should contribute to greater security of postal service users, but also to increased competition in the market. The aim of the new law is certainly to raise the quality of postal services to a higher level, but also to increase the efficiency of these services.