EU offers common charger for electronic devices
BRUSSELS – The European Union on Thursday proposed a common charger for phones and small electronics, saying it is an important step against e-waste and inconvenience to consumers.
The charging port and fast charging technology will be harmonized: USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and portable video game consoles, said the European Commission in a press release.
European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, presented the proposal on Thursday at a press conference in Brussels: “Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not. necessary.”
“We are putting an end to this. With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronic devices, an important step in increasing convenience and reducing waste,” he said.
In 2020, around 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic devices were sold in the EU. On average, consumers own about three cell phone chargers, of which they use two regularly, the statement noted.
Thursday’s proposal will now have to be adopted by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers. There will be a transition period of 24 months from the date of adoption to give the industry sufficient time to adjust before the entry into force.
EU action to impose a universal smartphone charger continues to create conflict with Apple and its widely used iPhone connector cable.
The European Commission believes that a standard cable for all devices will reduce e-waste, but Apple says a single charger will stop innovation and create more pollution.
The EU is a huge market of 450 million people, and the imposition of USB-C as a cable standard could have a decisive effect on the global smartphone market.
“European consumers have been frustrated for quite a long time with incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers,” EU Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“We have given the industry a lot of time to find their own solutions, now is the time to take legislative action for a common charger,” she said.
Consumers currently have to choose between three main chargers to power their phones: Lightning for Apple handsets, micro-USB widely used on most other mobile phones, and increasingly used USB-C.
The EU said the current situation remained “awkward” and that European consumers were spending around 2.4 billion euros ($ 2.8 billion) per year on self-contained chargers that do not come with their electronic devices.
Apple, which already uses USB-C connectors on some of its iPads and laptops, insists that legislation to force a universal charger for all mobiles in the European Union is unwarranted. – Agencies