In Brief: EU Commission passes new laws to make large appliances easier to repair

The first ‘Right to Repair’ laws have been passed for large appliances sold in EU countries.

Photo by Janaya Dasiuk

 

Keeping appliances for longer or fixing them yourself should become easier in Europe. That’s because the EU Commission has passed new regulations for manufacturers of large household appliances. Under the new laws, refrigerators, washing machines, TVs and other items should be easier to repair in the future.

The so-called “Right to Repair” law says spare parts should remain available for at least seven to 10 years after the appliance has been sold.

“We published a study a week ago and we covered dishwashers, smart phones, laptops and vacuum cleaners, and we basically showed that extending the lifetime of these products by just one year would save four million tons in emissions which is equivalent to taking two million cars off the road. So that’s like taking all of the cars of Denmark off the roads,” said Jean-Pierre Schweitzer from the European Environmental Bureau, a coalition of environmental groups that worked to pass the “Right to Repair” law.

Provisions in the new EU law should also make appliances easier to recycle and more energy efficient during their lifetime.

The EU Commission wants to ensure that household appliances do not have to be thrown away after a few years. The new rules are to come into force in 2021.

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Employees in Eastern Germany still earn less than in the West, on average about 17 percent. This is the result of a study by the Hans Böckler Foundation.

The study compared employees of the same sex who are in the same profession and with comparable work experience. The foundation says that the wage difference is mainly due to the fact that there are fewer collective bargaining agreements in the East.

The largest wage discrepancies are in Saxony with a difference of over 18 percent. The percent difference in Brandenburg is among the lowest, with a difference of just under 14 percent less pay for similar work.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.

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