„Right to repair” – the planned new right of EU citizens

The European Parliament intends to contribute to sustainability by strengthening consumer protection and enhancing product safety. This goal of the Parliament may result in a new consumer right, i.e. the “right to repair”, which would eventuate that durable and repairable products can become the norm.

Based on the Internal Market Committee’s proposal, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in November 2020, that calls the European Commission to grant EU consumers a “right to repair” by creating repairs more cost efficient and systematic. According to a survey conducted by Eurobarometer, 77% of EU citizens would prefer to repair their products rather than opting for a replacement, which shows that the Parliament’s idea is in line with the consumers’ choices and preferences. The Parliament’s suggestion includes among others (i) a labelling technique that requires manufacturers to provide information to consumers on the durability of the products and services (e.g. clear information on the estimated lifespan of a product), (ii) responsible advertising and marketing that encourages sustainability, and (iii) new waste management rules (which would also help to remove legal restrictions that do not allow repair, resale or reuse).

The clear intention of the European Parliament is to create a culture of reuse which would boost sustainability in the EU. According to David Cormand Rapporteur, the EP’s message is a “harmonised mandatory labelling, indicating durability and tackling premature obsolescence at EU level”. With the proposed changes, durable products and services may become the norm, and the EU will step forward on the path of environmental awareness.