After debating a newly proposed EU initiative, which aims to promote the repair and reuse, rather than replacement, of certain goods, the Riigikogu's European Union Affairs Committee (ELAK) has concluded, that there ought to be changes to its content.
The proposed initiative, which is designed to reduce waste and support the European Green Deal introduces the new "right to repair," for consumers both with and beyond the legal guarantee.
However, the compulsory actions listed in the initiative did not receive the backing of the Riigikogu's EU Affairs Committee (ELAK) at its meeting on July 7.
In the meantime, ELAK chair Liisa Pakosta (Eesti 200), has been working with the Estonian Ministry of Justice to develop new proposals for the initiative, which align with Riigikogu MPs' understanding of how to achieve greater improvements.
According to Pakosta, several other countries have also been critical of the commitments expected by the EU for the same reasons as Estonia.
"We really want to see more improvement, but in order to do that, the commitments made must be appropriate and, they also have to be enforceable in a reasonable way," Pakosta said.
Pakosta added, that ELAK had decided it would not be correct to adopt the directive in its current form, as imposing repair obligations on manufacturers would do nothing to help the owner of a broken washing machine in Cairo, who has to send it to France for repair, for instance.
Spare parts should be readily available
The Commission believes that it would be much more helpful if manufacturers were given clear obligations to ensure repair workers and product users have access to all the necessary spare parts and instructions to complete repairs.
"A much greater reduction in the transport carbon footprint would be achieved, if all spare parts could be ordered over the internet and information on all the instructions needed to make repairs were available," said Pakosta.
Pakosta added, that if the European Union wants to create a website to help people find companies and individuals, who are able to make repairs locally, this could be done centrally and in multiple languages.
"In Estonia, people can find the information using existing search engines, but maybe it really helps when you are in another country, for example, when you are at work, if you can quickly find a repair shop there using central information," Pakosta said.
She also stressed, that repairing products, rather than disposing of them, is a really important environmental goal, however, repairs themselves have to be organized in an environmentally friendly way. The most environmentally friendly way to do things would be to repair items without having to transport them too far, Pakosta added.
"We also consider it important that information on repair services is passed on to the consumer prior to the conclusion of the (purchasing) contract, as is already the case under existing law, but do not support the introduction of the repair information form outlined in the initiative. A one-page table, in the form of a quotation, would increase the administrative burden for sellers, while at the same time, we have no certainty that it would be of any benefit to consumers, particularly in a situation where the consumer would have to pay for that quotation," Pakosta said.
Editor: Michael Cole