The Internal Market Committee adopted its position on new measures to strengthen the right to repair and promote sustainable consumption.
On Wednesday, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee adopted its position on a new “right to repair” for consumers, with 38 votes in favour, 2 against, and no abstentions. The proposal aims to boost repairs during and beyond a product’s legal guarantee period and promote a new repair culture.
According to the Commission, the premature disposal of viable consumer goods generates 261 million tons of CO 2-equivalent emissions, uses 30 million tonnes of resources and results in 35 million tonnes of waste in the EU every year. At the same time, consumers opting for replacement instead of repair lose approximately €12 billion per year.
The right to repair proposal, which the Parliament has been calling for over a decade, complements other EU initiatives that pursue the European Green Deal objective of sustainable consumption and circular economy, namely the Ecodesign regulation and the directive on Empowering consumers for the green transition.
Repair over other remedies
Sellers would be required to offer free repair within the legal guarantee period, except when it is more expensive than replacement, it is factually impossible or it is inconvenient for the consumer, according to the adopted text. MEPs supported incentives for consumers to choose repair over replacement within the liability period, such as extending the legal guarantee by one year for repaired products. MEPs also want member states to promote repair through financial incentives like vouchers and national repair funds.
Beyond the legal guarantee
Producers would be obliged to repair a certain number of products (e.g. household washing machines, vacuum cleaners, smartphones, bicycles) even if they fall outside of the scope of a legal guarantee. To encourage this, MEPs want repairs to be carried out in a reasonable timeframe and producers to be able to offer replacement devices for loan to consumers. If a product cannot be fixed, producers could offer a refurbished one instead, MEPs say.
More transparent and competitive repair market
Independent repairers, refurbishers and end-users would get access to all spare parts, information, and tools at a reasonable cost throughout the lifespan of a product. According to MEPs, this will boost competition, decrease repair costs and give consumers more choice.
Information on repair services and conditions
National online platforms would allow consumers to find local repairers (e.g. repair cafés) and sellers of refurbished goods. Consumers may also get an overview of the repair conditions of each device, including information on the repairer, the maximum price and time needed, and would then be able to compare different offers.
“Today we established direct repair obligations for producers and introduce new incentives for consumers to choose repair. We strengthened the role of independent repairers and place them at the centre of improving repair in Europe. Through better access to relevant technical repair information and affordable spare parts for repairers, including promoting 3D printing for parts, more competition will drive down repair costs. We coupled this with an obligation on member states to establish financial incentives to kick-start the repair sector.”Rapporteur René Repasi (S&D, DE)
The draft mandate will be voted on by MEPs at the 20-23 November plenary session. Once Council adopts its position, negotiations on the final text can begin.
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