European Union Reaches Repair Agreement

European Union Reaches Repair Agreement

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This week, negotiators with the European Parliament and Council announced they had reached an agreement on new repair rules as part of their larger ecodesign agenda. These new rules support independent repair and will improve access to affordable repair options for specific products, with the aim of people holding onto devices for longer by opting to repair rather than replace them.

So far, the full text of the agreement has not been made public, but Right to Repair Europe campaigners have called it “a leap forward,” praising the “rules for reasonable prices for spare parts” and the ban on “software practices which prevent independent repair and the use of compatible and reused spare parts.”

Software practices limiting repair, particularly parts pairing, remain some of the biggest repair barriers for independent repair shops and refurbishers that rely on parts harvesting. Apple is actively lobbying against a bill in Oregon that includes such a ban. Campaigners worry that exceptions and exclusions could negate the force of this provision—so we will reserve judgment for when the full text of the agreement is public.

Fixing a washing machine
The agreement includes products currently covered by ecodesign, including washing machines, smartphones, tablets, and vacuum cleaners.

According to the EU Parliament announcement, the agreement includes the following key measures:

  1. Manufacturers are obligated to repair products covered by ecodesign repair regulations, including washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and smartphones (and the law may include more products over time).
  2. Manufacturers must inform consumers about their duty to repair.
  3. Consumers must be offered a device to borrow while their own is being repaired.
  4. Manufacturers must make repair prices accessible online at no cost.
  5. When a product has been repaired, its legal guarantee period will be extended by a year.

Additionally, the agreement includes a proposal for the EU to create an international repair platform, with sections for each member state. This is not the first time we’re seeing national repair platforms online: India has rolled out a Right to Repair online platform that thus far, serves to provide links to manufacturers’ own repair resource pages. However, the proposed EU repair platforms (as described in the text of the Council’s negotiating position) would also include a search for repair professionals, refurbished goods sales, the location of repair cafes, and the standardized European Repair Information Form, by which repair providers can provide quotes for service.

Member states can meet their obligation to add a repair-supportive measure by instituting support of community repair initiatives, like this repair cafe. Image via Wordshore on Flickr.

Member states will also be required to pass at least one measure to promote repair, including “repair vouchers and funds, information campaigns, repair courses or support for community-led repair spaces, or in line with existing rules on taxation, a reduction of the VAT rate on repair services.”

Where Things Fall Short

These requirements are no doubt a positive change to make repair more accessible and cost-effective. But while many have called the agreement a victory, advocates are still urging for more comprehensive legislation. The largest concern, per usual, is the scope of the law. As it stands, the current rules are limited to products already covered by ecodesign regulations, although lawmakers note the potential for expansion of these categories. The broad mandate of European ecodesign regulations to reduce waste in certain high-volume product categories gives Right to Repair a clear policy arena in which to operate. However, it means any ecodesign-linked regulations will likely be limited to the same set of products.

Right to Repair Europe campaigners highlight the agreement’s failure to extend access to information and spare parts to device owners, not just independent repairers. They also point to the failure of the agreement to “prioritise repair within the legal guarantee framework”—that is, manufacturers can meet their obligations by offering replacement devices rather than repairs, which undercuts the waste mitigation of the bill.

Those expecting immediate changes will be left waiting. The process of passing (let alone implementing) a law in the European Union is complicated and long. In this case, there will be a 24-month period in which the countries that make up the EU will have to adopt national laws that align with the EU’s agreement.

More News

PIRG collected stories about why we need Right to Repair from all 50 states.
  • More than 60,000 people heeded the FTC’s call for comments on passing repair rules: That includes close to 57,000 petition signatures that were delivered to the FTC in Washington, DC by US PIRG—featuring supportive letters from 600+ lawmakers, organizations, and businesses. iFixit, Consumer Reports,, U.S. PIRG, the Story of Stuff Project, NWIDA, and Environment America collected the signatures and encouraged public comments to the FTC. Advocates created a map tool, “Americans Just Want to Fix Their Stuff,” to highlight stories about repair submitted by Americans. The petition urges the FTC to initiate a rulemaking addressing common repair barriers, such as access to parts and service manuals, and banning anti-repair practices like glued-in batteries and parts pairing.
  • An open-web watchdog wants closer a inspection of Apple: With the Digital Markets Act set to go into effect, OWA (Open Web Advocacy), a nonprofit focused on open-web issues, reviewed Apple’s compliance proposal with the DMA regarding browser and web app competition on iOS. Their analysis raises concerns about whether Apple’s proposal aligns with DMA requirements, focusing on three key points: the ability of browser vendors to bring their own engine to iOS, implement proper web app support, and compete fairly with Safari. Criticisms include privacy concerns, restrictive APIs, limitations on browser updates, and restrictions on third-party browsers in the EU.
  • Price to fix farm equipment jumped 41% in 4 years: Farmers in the U.S. are grappling with record-breaking inflation affecting all sectors of the economy, including agriculture. That includes the cost of repairing equipment used for soybeans and corn cultivation, the nation’s top crops, according to a report by Jennifer Bamberg at Investigate Midwest. Farmers incur an average annual loss of $3,348 due to repair downtime and manufacturer restrictions on equipment repairs, as per a 2023 study by the Public Interest Research Group.