In March 2020, the European Commission adopted its new Circular Economy Action Plan. The Plan aims to establish a strong and coherent product policy framework that will make sustainable products, services and business models the norm across the EU, and transform European consumption patterns so that no waste is produced in the first place. As part of this process the Commission intends to embed a “right to repair” in the EU consumer and product policies. I fully support this intention. The recent public consultation on the forthcoming Whole-of-Government Circular Economy Strategy identified product repair as one of the key activities needed to achieve a circular transition. A comprehensive ‘right-to-repair’ will both empower consumers and create a market for repairable products and repair services.
Given the scale of changes to product design and manufacture needed to allow for improved repairability, and the size of Ireland’s economy relative to the wider Single Market, I believe that harmonised action at EU level is necessary in order to introduce a ‘right-to-repair’ and will support ambitious proposals from the European Commission in this regard.