BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union lawmakers agreed on Tuesday measures to increase repair of goods such as washing machines, televisions and smartphones and reduce waste from consumers acquiring new products instead.
The European Commission proposed a new law in March obliging sellers to repair a product for free within the two-year legal guarantee period, if the cost is no more than a replacement, and to provide repairs for products for between five and 10 years after sale.
The rules also apply to fridges, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, data storage products and welding equipment which are already required to be repairable under existing EU law.
The European Parliament, which will have to agree on a final text with EU governments, voted by 590 to 15 in favour of a text adding an extra year to the legal guarantee and encourage EU countries to provide incentives for repairs.
They also sought to make spare parts more affordable by promoting fair competition and obliging producers to make them available to independent repairers at a reasonable price.
“We want to end prohibitive costs for spare parts. They should be available at a non-discriminatory price and without obstacles placed in the way,” said Rene Repasi, the German Social Democrat lawmaker overseeing the legislation.
The text lawmakers agreed on also included bicycles, which are not subject to repairability rules, although they are frequently repaired. Repasi said the inclusion was designed to encourage repair rules beyond the specified products.
Parliament representatives will have to negotiate a final text with the group of EU countries known as the Council.
Repasi said he hoped this would be concluded in February to allow the law to enter force before the EU parliamentary election in June.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Editing by Louise Heavens)