The Socialists and Democrats in parliament have tabled a position paper on the Sustainable Single Market for Consumers and Businesses.
In the paper, they call on the Commission to present ambitious legislative proposals necessary to adapt the Single Market to the challenges of climate and degradation of the environment, and describe why it is a social question to do so.
Contrary to conservatives and liberals, S&Ds call for an effective ban of premature obsolescence practices that aim at reducing the lifetime of products. They also insist on mandatory labelling – and not just voluntary as favoured by the EPP – on durability and reparability of products, so that consumers are able to take informed purchase decisions and the reuse sector is boosted.
Furthermore, S&Ds are pushing for tackling the destruction of unsold goods, and call for a reform of the Single Market that promotes sustainable production and consumption patterns, while safeguarding a high level of workers’ rights and at the same time benefiting the society as a whole.
Biljana Borzan MEP, S&D vice-president for consumer protection, said: “The Sustainable Single Market is at the heart of the discussions of our political Group – it is a social question to keep it there. We need to guarantee that ‘going green’ will not be reserved for the wealthy and privileged. Longer product lifespans, the alignment of legal and commercial guarantees, and the regulation of phenomena such as ‘fast fashion’, as well as the destruction of unsold products should be brought into the spotlight. Only this will prevent the Green Deal from remaining an empty promise.
“We call for a ban on premature obsolescence of products, and the introduction of mandatory labelling on their expected lifespan and reparability. Citizens should know what they are spending money on. Given that 77% of citizens would prefer to repair rather than buy a new product, we call on the Commission to introduce a strong right to repair for consumers through the availability of spare parts at a reasonable price.
Christel Schaldemose MEP, S&D spokeswoman on the internal market and consumer protection, added: “Concrete action is urgently needed to fight against the disruption of our climate. We want to achieve a just transition, which prevents low and middle-income groups from having to bear the highest burden and see their cost of living rise. We need to change the way we produce and consume in order to protect our citizens and the environment, and achieve more sustainable economic growth. All goods, including the ones imported to the Union, must respect the highest possible standards of environmental, human health and human rights protection throughout the entire value chain.
“The green transition is not merely about setting targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it is about delivering solutions to take us to those targets in substantial ways. With this position paper our group has delivered concrete suggestions in leading the way to a sustainable Single Market”