The Communist Party and Left Bloc want to nationalise Portugal’s Post Office, CTT, the future of which is to be debated on February 20th in a key parliamentary debate.
The nationalisation of CTT means triggering an existing law that can be used to take control of the business ‘in the national interest.’
The business has been in private hands since 2014, and has a concession agreement to run the mail service until December 2020.
The new management have reduced a once profitable business to one that makes marginal profits yet still pays healthy dividends by selling off property assets.
Two proposals will be debated in February with the Left bloc pushing for action during this government, not delaying matters until 2020 when the contract runs out – the route preferred by the prime minister.
The nationalisation of CTT should be done, "in accordance with the Legal Regime of Public Entitlement, approved in the annex by law 62-A / 2008, of November 11, in order to safeguard the national public interest," reads the proposal.
Nationalisation can be by using this decree-law or the state can start buying shares until it controls the business.
If the business is taken back under state control, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition needs to give approval if ‘state aid’ is seen to be involved.
The toothless regulator, Anacom, pointed out that the 2018 closures of CTT branches, "has led to the increase of 33 municipalities in Portugal that no longer have a post office."
The fight continues in Carvoeiro, Sagres, Praia da Luz and Aljezur to prevent the planned closure of their Post Offices, viewed by locals as offering essential community services.
The Douro Intermunicipal Community also has filed an injunction against the closure of branches in the region.