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European Council approves right-to-repair directive

The European Union has taken a step towards reducing e-waste and empowering consumers by adopting legislation which will make 'defective products repaired in an easier, cheaper and faster way'.

Appliance technician working on a front load washing machine in a laundry roomThe European Council has given its final approval to the right-to-repair (R2R) directive, legislation that promotes the repair of broken or defective goods. The directive, which follows up on the European Green Deal, aims to encourage more sustainable consumption by making it easier to repair defective goods, reducing waste, and supporting the repair sector.

Under the new directive, manufacturers will be required to repair technically repairable products under EU law. Sellers will be required to prioritise repair within the legal guarantee period if it is cheaper or equal in cost to replacement, with the guarantee extended by one year after a repair. Consumers will also have the right to request repairs for certain products, such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and smartphones, even after the guarantee has expired.

The directive also mandates access to a voluntary repair form with clear information about the repair process, including deadlines and prices. A European online platform with national sections will be established to help consumers easily find local repair services. Replacement devices will be offered on loan during repairs, and refurbished units will be provided if a device is irreparable. Furthermore, if consumers choose repair over replacement, the legal guarantee will be extended by 12 months.

Alexia Bertrand, Belgian State Secretary for the Budget and Consumer Protection, commented: "The directive adopted today enshrines a new right for consumers: the right to have defective products repaired in an easier, cheaper and faster way. It also gives manufacturers the incentive to make products that last longer and can be repaired, reused and recycled. And finally, it makes repairing a more attractive economic activity that can create Europe-based quality jobs. All economic actors win, and so does the environment."

The list of repairable products is expected to expand in the future as the European Commission introduces new reparability requirements for certain products. These requirements will be added to the R2R directive, ensuring a growing range of products can be repaired rather than replaced.

The right-to-repair directive sits alongside other recent EU legislation promoting sustainable consumption, such as the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation, which encourages the production of repairable products, and the Directive on Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition, which enables better-informed purchasing decisions at the point of sale.

Following the Council's approval, the directive will be signed by the Presidents of the European Parliament and the Council before being published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The legislation will come into force 20 days after publication, and member states will then have 24 months to transpose the directive into national law.

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