European Parliament Embraces the Right-to-Repair

The European Parliament just voted for legislation that would make it easier for Europeans to repair their own stuff. The resolution establishes the need for right-to-repair legislation in Europe and is a massive step forward for right-to-repair in general.

The European Parliament is a legislative branch of the European Union. It has 705 voting members, 395 of whom voted to pass the resolution. Only 94 voted against and 207 abstained. The resolution is lengthy, complicated, comprehensive, and it’ll take months—perhaps even years—before it’s fully implemented.

The resolution calls on manufacturers to facilitate repairs by making spare parts and repair information cheap and easy to access. It calls for the labeling of products for easy or repair, something France is rolling out in January. The resolution also asks that manufacturers and advertisers begin to develop what it called a culture of recuse. “If consumers are to trust second-hand products, they need transparency, as well as guarantees certifying the condition of products,” the resolution said.

Right-to-repair advocates are thrilled at the news. “The European vote sets the stage for Right to Repair in Europe, including repair score labels on products,” Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, told Motherboard in an email. “This is a massive step forward towards a world with products that you can fix. Consumers need to know before they buy a product how long it will last.”

Europe is a huge market and protestors and activists have been agitating for the right-to-repair there for years. The European Commission passed laws in 2018 enshrining right-to-repair laws for appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. More widespread and comprehensive right-to-repair laws have been in the works there for years.

Right-to-repair in the United States has been more hard fought, but it’s had a few recent victories. Massachusetts overwhelmingly voted to expand the right-to-repair protections for cars in November and the movement to let people repair their own stuff continues to gain ground across America.

Europe and America’s economies are intertwined and it’s possible that Europe embracing the right-to-repair will help push the issue forward in the U.S.

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