Parliament adopted its negotiating position on new measures to strengthen the right to repair and reduce the environmental impact of mass consumption.
On Tuesday, Parliament adopted its position on a stronger “right to repair” for consumers, with 590 votes in favour, 15 against, and 15 abstentions. The proposal aims to encourage more sustainable consumption, by making it easier to repair defective goods, reducing waste and supporting the repair sector.
Choose repair instead of buying, even after the guarantee expires
Within the legal guarantee period, sellers would be required to prioritise repair if it is cheaper or equal in cost to replacing a good, unless the repair is not feasible or inconvenient for the consumer. MEPs also propose to extend the legal guarantee by one year once a product has been fixed.
Consumers will have a right to request repair for products such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, smartphones and bicycles after the guarantee has expired. To make repairs the more attractive choice for consumers, MEPs want producers to offer replacement devices on loan for the duration of the repair. If a product cannot be fixed, a refurbished one could be offered instead.
More competitive repair market and incentives to opt for repair
Consumers are often discouraged from having a product repaired due to high costs, the difficulty of accessing repair services or design features preventing repair. Under Parliament’s position, independent repairers, refurbishers and end-users would have access to all spare parts, repair information, and tools at a reasonable cost.
Online platforms will help consumers find local repairers (including repair cafés) and sellers of refurbished goods in their area. To make repairs more affordable and attractive, MEPs propose offering consumers vouchers and other financial incentives via national repair funds.
Rapporteur René Repasi (S&D, DE) said: “This House has consistently supported consumers’ right to repair and we can finally say that we are directly responding to people’s demands. People want to expand the lifespan of their devices, but it is often too costly or difficult. We adopted a series of measures to encourage consumers to choose repair over replacement, with a special focus on supporting independent repairers and establishing financial incentives. We expect Council to adopt their position soon, so we can begin negotiations to transform these measures into law and pave the way for a truly circular European economy.” “
Once Council adopts its own negotiating position on 22 November, talks with Parliament may begin, with a first meeting scheduled on 7 December.
Throwing repairable consumer goods away has a profound environmental impact, resulting in the use of 30 million tonnes of resources, the production of 261 million tons of CO2-equivalent emissions and the generation of 35 million tonnes of waste annually in the EU. Consumers opting to replace a good instead of repairing it lose approximately €12 billion every year. According to a European Commission study, 77% EU citizens would prefer repair to buying new goods.
Conference on the Future of Europe
The right to repair proposal responds to a number of citizens’ recommendations outlined in the report on Conference on the Future of Europenamely proposals 5 (6), 5(7), 5(10) and 11(2) on promoting the right to repair, ensuring long-term and sustainable use of products, information on repair, measures to tackle premature and planned obsolescence, ensuring longer warranties, providing access to spare parts, incentives to use products for longer and working towards a more sustainable and circular economy.