FDP mulls breaking up Deutsche Post to spur competition

FDP mulls breaking up Deutsche Post to spur competition
Photo: DPA
The pro-business Free Democrats are considering breaking up Germany's national postal service Deutsche Post, according to classified parliamentary documents published on Thursday.

The junior coalition partners to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats want to propose legislation carving up Deutsche Post under guidance of Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle, financial daily Handelsblatt reported.

The “basis for a proportional breakup of the Post is its enduring market control of postal delivery despite long-running regulation,” according to the document quoted by the paper.

Brüderle’s proposal would make it possible for the Federal Cartel Office, or Bundeskartellamt, to force market leaders to sell parts of their businesses, the paper reported. Such a law would likely apply to companies like Deutsche Post and large energy providers, though it remains unclear whether big banks would also be subject to the new competition standards, the paper reported.

The news comes at a time when Deutsche Post is under scrutiny by the federal government’s Monopolies Commission and competitors are accusing the company of abusing its position as market leader.

Members of Merkel’s conservatives have also been critical of Deutsche Post’s might, the paper said. Though some have said that ending favourable sales tax rates as a cabinet proposal suggested in December would be enough to even out the playing field for competitors, others believe this doesn’t go far enough.

“In my view this needs to be improved,” spokesperson for the Christian Democratic parliamentary group Joachim Pfeiffer told the paper, adding that the rules defining the difference between private and business customers was too porous.

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