The European Parliament secures a big win for the Right to Repair as MEPs come together across political divisions and stand by consumers and the environment in the fight against throw-away products. 

The 705 MEPs were voting on a report on sustainable products led by French Green MEP David Cormand including elements on the premature obsolescence of devices . “Making sustainable products the norm in the EU”, and “empowering consumers to play a stronger role in the green transition” are two stated priorities of the new European Commission and its “Green Deal”. 

The vote means that the European Commission now has the full support of the Parliament in moving forward with the development of laws aimed at extending the lifetime of products such as smartphones and laptops. The Parliament also supports a mandatory labelling system to inform consumers on the level of repairability of products sold in shops and online.

The vote on obsolescence was very close – won by a margin of two votes of 701.

The win comes after weeks of opposition where conservative and liberal parties tried to water down the original, more ambitious version of the report. This attempt was at odds with the overwhelming support that Europeans have shown for these measures. A recent survey found that 8 in 10 Europeans agree that manufacturers should be required to make it easier to repair digital devices.

This vote shows that right to repair measures are backed by opinion polls but also by the European Parliament. The European Commission now needs to take this momentum and move forward swiftly in 2021 on a EU-wide repairability score for all electronic devices and repairability rules for computers and smartphones

Chloé Mikolajczak, campaigner for the Right to Repair campaign

With this decision, the European Parliament upholds its reputation of being ambitious and vocal on defending consumers and standing up for the right to repair despite strong political divides from conservatives. It also paves the way for Europe to build on national initiatives such as the French repairability index or the Austrian fiscal incentives to make the right to repair a European reality.

Image credits: “Europe Flag” by fdecomite is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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