August 29, 2018
URGENT UPDATE – 27 Sept
Partners in Brussels are warning us that the crucial vote described below may be delayed for at least two years – or never happen. This decision will be made very soon. Sign/share a petition: DE |UK | IT
UPDATE – 10 Oct
Success: the European Commission decided not to postpone the vote by the Council of the European Union vote (where each member country votes). However, members states could still water down the measures significantly, or vote against. Therefore, we need to maintain our mobilisation and pressure, especially on Germany, Italy and UK which are blocking. All petitions above are still fully relevant.
Later this year, all 28 European Union member states will vote on a new eco-design “package” of proposed regulations, an event that could set a very valuable precedent to push for a Right to Repair movement in the EU.
Eco-design measures can bring real progress towards better repairability of electricals and electronics, a key goal for the Open Repair Alliance. They can directly influence the durability and repairability of our products, for example making products more energy-efficient and designed to be easier to repair.
A big opportunity and a precedent
The upcoming vote is particularly important given that it could require, for the first time, that manufacturers of washing machines and dishwashers to be sold in the EU provide spare parts for 7 years and access to repair information.
While these measures would be restricted to these white goods, typically not repaired at community repair events, they would set a crucial precedent which could in the future be extended to other devices. And chances are that Europe’s move could contribute to the adoption of similar regulation elsewhere in the world.
Learning from the US
The Right to Repair movement is growing stronger in the United States, while in Europe it is in very early stages, despite the popularity of Repair Cafes and community repair in general. The upcoming ecodesign package follows a 2017 resolution from the European Parliament which encouraged the European Commission, as well as member states and manufacturers, to improve the durability, quality and repairability of our products. Given the importance of the EU market, ecodesign measures have the potential to benefit other countries, including the US.
At the same time, Europeans have a lot to learn from the US Right to Repair campaign, which is bringing together consumers and independent repair businesses, as discussed in a recent conversation between Ugo Vallauri, co-founder of Open Repair Alliance member The Restart Project, and Nathan Proctor, Director of US PIRG’s Right to Repair campaign.
What the Open Repair Alliance can contribute
With these conversations happening at EU level, Open Repair Alliance members can contribute with their experience and data, particularly on the issue of spare parts. This data can help illustrate the importance of spare parts not just for white goods, but for other devices too, and open up discussions about their availability and their affordability. Open Repair Alliance members collect data on repairs, and are giving priority to adopting a more standardised collection of spare parts information in events such as Repair Cafes and Fixit Clinics around the world.
If your repair organisation or community repair group would like to get involved in our effort to mobilise in support of Right to Repair, please sign up to our email list.