The Challenges of the “Right to Repair” in the EU Legal Framework | Pages 104-114 | PDF

Francesco Salerno, Adjunct Prof.
University of Pavia, Italy

Keywords: right to repair, planned obsolescence, circular economy, environmental impact, energy-related products, consumer rights

Manufacturers largely offer disposable products, and most products actually are not built to last and cannot be easily repaired or recycled. Often manufacturers actually design products to quickly become obsolete, forcing consumers into constant upgrades.
Replacing this production model with a system that, by providing access to the necessary information, encourages consumers to repair and reuse products, would offer many advantages. In addition to the environmental benefits, promoting repairable products is good for the local economy and the labour market, particularly small businesses, which consumers typically turn to for repairs. Consumers also benefit by having access to longer lasting and more cost-efficient products.
In view of these objectives and within the scope of a wider framework established by Directive 2009/125/EC, the European Community has adopted certain measures, including regulations for the ecodesign of energy-related products, which came into effect on 1 March 2021. Although they refer to a limited number of consumer goods, these regulations have essentially introduced the “right to repair.” This marks a first step, which will have to be followed by other initiatives but could open the door to a new system.
Starting from this EU legislation and the objectives it pursues, the author in this paper intends to investigate the “right to repair,” taking into account the various regulatory areas likely to be affected by it and highlighting, among other things, any limitations and possible challenges posed by its implementation.