The aim of liberalisation is supposed to be to reduce prices, improve quality and offer more choice to customers.

But today the cabinet decided to delay opening up the Dutch postal market to full competition because of the large number of uncertainties.
For a start, Germany has thrown a spanner in the works by agreeing to a minimum wage for delivery workers. This, critics argue, is pure protectionism.
Indeed, it may be. But is it really such a bad thing to make sure that workers will not become suffer as a result of increased market competition? It is easy to undercut your rivals if you don’t pay your staff the going rate.
Meanwhile the Dutch unions can only look on with envy as delivery workers become the major cost cutting factor in the Netherlands. Thousands of jobs at TNT are set to go as the market is opened up.
And will quality improve with liberalisation? Scarcely a day goes by without Sidelines having to stuff mail wrongly delivered by a plethora of delivery firms into the right letterbox.
And what about prices for consumers? The liberalisation of the energy market was supposed to have given consumers a better deal all round.
But only today a report by the competition authority argues that Dutch consumers are still paying too much for their electricity, years after liberalisation.

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