Analysis of the adopted Directive on Common Rules Promoting the Repair of Goods

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EU campaigning pays off with promising new repair rules, but we need many more products to be covered

After years of intense campaigning by right to repair advocates, EU lawmakers have finally agreed upon new repair rules (1). The Right to Repair Europe coalition, representing more than 140 organisations in 24 European countries, celebrates that the new law will pave the way for better access to affordable repairs for selected products. There are finally rules on reasonable prices for original parts as well as a ban of software practices which prevent independent repair and the use of compatible and reused spare parts. This is a step in the right direction for affordable repair.

However, with the adoption of the law, a major chance is being missed to create a truly fair repair market in Europe and to ensure affordable repair solutions for the majority of products on the European market. The scope of products covered remains very narrow and many loopholes were introduced. A swift implementation of the rules is needed, including Commission guidelines on the definition of “reasonable” prices for spare parts, a solid execution of the ban on anti-repair practices and the introduction of national financial incentives for repair by EU Member States.

EU countries will have two years to incorporate this directive into their national legislation. It is vital that the next EU Commission (post-EU elections in June 2024) continue working on legal acts setting repairability requirements (2) for additional product categories to swiftly expand the scope of these new repair rules.


  1. Better access to repair for a selection of products

The new rules will be set to improve European consumers’ access to repair for a selection of products. The scope is limited to goods purchased by consumers and to products already covered by repairability requirements under EU law. The scope will automatically be expanded by the European Commission within 12 months after the adoption of any new legal acts setting repairability requirements.

Producers will for the first time be required to offer repair options beyond the legal guarantee period of two years, for a duration of up to 10 years. These repairs will need to be carried out for free or against a “reasonable price”. Consumers may be offered a replacement product during the repair period. Parts and tools also need to be sold to independent repairers “at a reasonable price that does not deter repair”. However, the rules do not provide any indication of what a “reasonable” part price actually means. It will be crucial for the repair movement to take manufacturers that sell spare parts at unreasonably high prices to court.

Another important feature of the law is the ban on “contractual clauses, hardware or software techniques that impede the repair” for the products in scope. Right to Repair worked persistently to bring these unfair practices to the policymakers’ attention. However, it remains to be seen to what extent loopholes will persist, as the text adds an exemption to the ban that leaves the door open for manufacturers to continue enacting anti-repair practices by stating it is “legitimate” under the law. Regrettably, the law also fails to offer broader access to more repair information and more spare parts.

  1. Improved attractivity of repair under the legal guarantee

To improve the attractivity of repair, the guarantee will be extended by 12 months if consumers opt for repair. This will result in a total of 3-year legal guarantee coverage in most EU countries, while there is no extension if consumers opt for replacement.

  1. One step closer to national financial incentives for repair – but we still need to make it happen

EU lawmakers also require Member States to implement at least one national measure promoting repair. They propose a non-binding list (3) of financial and non-financial options such as support to community-led repair initiatives or information campaigns. It will be crucial for the right to repair movement to keep up the momentum via national campaigns and knowledge sharing on successful national initiatives. Based on the data collected so far, it is essential that financial incentives for repair are introduced in all countries.

  1. Online matchmaking platform and European repair form

The EU Commission will introduce a European online platform with the aim to increase the visibility of repair options and transparency for their costs. While it is generally a good idea to increase the visibility of repair services and make it easier for consumers to find suitable service providers, this will only be effective as long as there is an adequate repair infrastructure that is also visible on the platform.

  1. Missed opportunities

Considering the limited scope and ambition, the opportunity was missed to make this initiative into something that would actually merit the title ‘Right to repair directive’. In essence, the regulation’s main effect will be to somewhat increase the chances that the small number of products that already had to be repairable anyway, will actually end up being repaired. It would be very optimistic to expect that these measures will make a dent in the use of resources and the production of e-waste.

The list of missed opportunities is long. For example, Right to Repair had suggested a mandatory priority for repair over replacement under the guarantee along with strengthening the independent repair sector by allowing them to perform repairs under the guarantee. None of this made it through final negotiations.

There are also many ambitious provisions which the Parliament had agreed upon, only for them to be thrown out in favour of the Council’s drastically less ambitious stance during the trialogues. Among them are:

  • The right for the consumer to have a product repaired unless this is factually or legally impossible (with the producer not allowed to refuse the consumer’s request purely due to economic considerations such as the costs)
  • The right to have access to all spare parts and all repair-related information and tools, including diagnosis tools for a period corresponding to at least the expected lifespan of the product
  • The obligation for producers to publish all information related to repair on their websites
  • The possibility for legislators to add products to the list even if not covered by Ecodesign or other requirements

It is regrettable that in the end, the voice of our democratically elected representatives did not prevail. The Right to Repair Coalition will continue to push for ambitious repairability requirements for as many additional product categories as possible, as well as working with members focused on the implementation of the directive in each member state, to ensure that this and other pieces of legislation actually make a difference for European consumers and for the prevention of e-waste.


The original article was published by Right to Repair Europe. This is an abridged version.



Cristina Ganapini

Coordinator of Right to Repair Europe




(1) legal text of the directive

(2) EU lawmakers also agreed on a new EU Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR). This framework regulation will enable the EU Commission to set minimum repairability requirements for further product categories. Our coalition managed to put energy-related products, ICT products and other electronics as part of their next priorities.

(3) Member States’ measures promoting repair can include information campaigns, support to community-led repair initiatives, repair vouchers, repair funds, supporting or creating local or regional repair platforms, organising or financing training programs to acquire special skills in repair and taxation measures. These measures can be taken at a national, regional or local level.