latest achievements in EU regulations

“We cannot recycle our way out of this situation..” Let’s read about latest achievements in EU regulations on our rights to repair; we talked to Cristina Ganapini, Right to Repair Europe coordinator whose job is to keep the MEPs under pressure.


Talking Repairably spoke to Cristina Ganapini, the coordinator of the European coalition that fights for citizens’ right to fair repair conditions.
Right to Repair Europe, a coalition of over 130 organisations from 23 countries is represented by one woman. Cristina Ganapini got particularly interested in circular economy issues while she was working on maritime affairs. The threat of deep-sea mining might seem very distant, but is in fact becoming very real and could have catastrophic consequences for life on Earth. The creation of sediment plumes out of seafloors is proven to threaten aquatic life, not to mention the unclear effects that mining would have on the ocean’s capacity to store carbon. This is a very big topic that is closely connected to our focus – circular economy and repairable policies of the EU and its member states.

Cristina´s job is to coordinate the coalition consisting of big organisations and repair platforms, repair cafés and smaller initiatives (including Repairably). They provide her with valuable inputs, materials and strong arguments to keep the MEPs and other policymakers constantly under pressure. So far there have been many successful achievements; the latest demands is for mandatory replaceable batteries for portable products. In addition, Cristina co-writes all the press releases, contents on social media and communicates on European directives which need to be implemented by member states.

Among the goals of Right to Repair Europe there are claims on ecodesign of products, universal and fair access to spare parts, repair manuals and diagnostic tools, affordability and transparency of repair. The coalition aims to achieve a ban on a wide range of anti-repair practices, such as marketing obsolescence strategies or early obsolescence features1. The coalition’s newest ambition? „Material use reduction! Our economies are extracting and consuming more raw materials every year. We cannot recycle our way out of this situation and marginally promoting reuse and repair won’t be enough. We need to extract fewer materials and to keep them in use via circular models for longer.“ In order to achieve this, it is also essential to keep consumers informed. Not so long ago, we used to have a widespread repair culture in Europe, but the manufacturing industries replaced it with a throw-away economy.

We may be leaders in changing policies, but that doesn´t mean that we repair the most. For many people in the Global South, there is no other choice than to repair.“ Within European countries the Netherlands and Germany are generally open and progressive about circularity. However, lately France has been going much further with the approval and implementation, as of February 2022, of a broad legislation called „Low AGEC“. The law addresses the fight against wasteful practices and aims to promote the circular economy, giving a great boost to the ecological transition. The law enabled the creation of a repair index and the launch of a national repair fund. It marks an important step for the clothing, linen and footwear sector, which is firmly committed to sustainable development, and completes the initiatives already taken within the topic. Recently Belgium also introduced a repair index, which – like its French counterpart and unlike the EU index for smartphones – includes the price of spare parts.

In the beginning of February, the new Directive on Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition (ECGT) was finalised. The Right to Repair Europe coalition followed this step towards more clarity for consumers closely, as the law will restrict greenwashing practices and misleading green claims, including claims on reparability and durability of products. However, the new law only addresses consumers’ access to information, instead of banning barriers to repair and early obsolescence practices altogether.
And what about our country – Slovakia? We will have the chance to put pressure on our national government to be ambitious about the implementation of new EU repair rules! As of April 2024, EU countries will have two years to implement pro-repair measures. This is the chance to ask for a Slovakian repair fund and repair vouchers. Let´s not miss this chance and push our legislators together! Follow us for more updates.

1Early obsolescence feature – many people imagine a conspiratorial theory about one particle which goes on at certain point and breaks the product – the truth is much simpler: obsolescence features can be irreplaceable batteries, or glued parts inside the product, or software pairing which blocks the use of second-hand or third-party spare parts, etc.