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Post Offices of Europe 18th – 21st Century

A Comparative History

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Edited By Muriel Le Roux and Sébastien Richez

The cursus publicus, established by the Roman Empire to connect all its conquered territories, may be considered to be the ancestor of all modern post offices. Therefore, mail service networks are part of an organization, dating from Antiquity, which is common to the entire European community.
From the 18 th century onwards, the French mail service network may be divided into three successive phases. First, the consolidation of the transportation system that was being set up. Second, the development of the system’s ability to deal with increasing traffic (through broader human resources). Thirdly, the diversification of its operations and the development of its technical modernisation.
What was the situation in other European countries? Are there similarities and differences in how their networks were set up and organized? Finally, how did European Post Offices cooperate with each other in spite of their differences?
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From Service to Business. A Brief History of Italian Postal Reform: Andrea Giuntini

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Andrea GIUNTINI

I am deeply honored to be a member of this round table discussion today. I shall be speaking from a historical perspective, an approach that is familiar to me. Beginning with the most significant transformations that have characterized the postal sector during the second half of the 20th century, I shall attempt to synthesize this history of postal service in the past ten years. The changes that occurred in the postal sector are the same as those that have intervened in all Italian public services in the same period. The law of 1990 completed transformed the management of urban public services and has contributed to the alteration of a cultural and economic point of view: the idea, concept, and practice of public services in Italy. I would like to highlight some of the most important stages in the recent history of the postal service.

Early 1994 marked the metamorphosis of the postal administration that traditionally managed this service into a new organization called the Poste Italiane. This was the first step on the path that led to the broad process of privatizing service in Italy. In 1994 the former President of the Council’s rightist government was established. From the standpoint of the transformation of the postal service, the right and the left were on the same ground when they took over the country’s business relations. Both tendencies were favorable to a change in postal service; it was less a problem of political character than...

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