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Source: European Union

The Internal Market Committee proposed a series of measures to strengthen consumer protection and enhance product safety and sustainability.

In a resolution on sustainable Single Market approved by 20 (2 voted against, 23 abstained), MEPs call on the Commission to grant consumers a “right to repair” by making repairs more appealing, systematic, and cost-efficient.

They also ask the Commission to consider labelling products and services according to their durability (e.g. a usage meter and clear information on the estimated lifespan of a product). This would support second-hand goods markets and promote more sustainable production practices. To reduce electronic waste, MEPs insist again on a common charger system.

To tackle planned obsolescence, restricting practices that intentionally shorten the lifetime of a product should be considered. According to MEPs, the corrective updates for certain digital devices must continue throughout their estimated lifespan and not diminish their performance.

According to Eurobarometer, 77% of EU citizens would rather repair their devices than replace them and 79% think that manufacturers should be required to make it easier to repair digital devices or replace their individual parts.

Adjustments needed everywhere: from advertising to waste management

MEPs also push for more sustainable public procurement as well as responsible marketing and advertising that encourages sustainable business and consumer choices. This should include clear guidelines for products that claim to be environmentally friendly, assisted by further ecolabel certification. For example, when green claims are made in advertisements, common criteria should be followed to support the claim.

In addition, the report proposes new rules for waste management, including the removal of legal obstacles that prevent repair, resale and reuse. This will also benefit the secondary raw material market.

Fight against unsafe products sold online

In another resolution on product safety in the Single Market, approved by 45 (no abstentions and votes against), MEPs addressed the issue of unsafe products – particularly those sold on online marketplaces. This includes products that contain dangerous chemicals, have unsafe software, or pose other safety hazards.

MEPs want online platforms and marketplaces to take proactive measures to tackle misleading practices and demand that EU rules on product safety should be enforced robustly. They emphasise that compliance with product safety rules must be ensured, for products circulating in the EU and manufactured either in the EU or outside it, allowing a fair competition between companies and securing reliable product information for consumers.

The resolution also addresses the safety and security of AI (e.g. supporting the development of effective checks on high-risk products embedded with AI), and calls for a revision of the current product safety legislation, such as the General Product Safety Directive and the Machinery Directive, to adapt it to the digitalisation of products.

Next steps

The plenary vote for both reports is expected to take place in November.

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