May 14, 2021

Brussels to propose universal phone charger across the EU


The issue of the universal charger for smartphones and similar devices, such as tablets, has been in the air since 2009

The issue of the universal charger for smartphones and similar devices, such as tablets, has been in the air since 2009
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The European Comission (CE) will present its legislative proposal next June to introduce the whole of the European Union (EU) a universal charger that facilitates harmonization of use and takes into account the management of electronic waste.

“Between now and the end of the summer we are going to present a legislative proposal to get a universal charger”, declared this Thursday the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, before the competent parliamentary committee of the European Parliament.

The French politician, who in the past was head of technology companies such as Thompson or France Télécom, pointed out that the single charger has “a special importance” for him.

“My goal is not only to work on an interface for a common charger, but also additional measures on e-waste management“, explained the French, about products that generate 51,000 tons of waste each year, according to data from the European Parliament.

Breton thus put a date on a commitment that the Commission had indicated would be released in July 2020 but that had been delayed a year due to the pandemic and was expected for the first quarter of 2021.

The issue of the universal charger for smartphones and similar gadgets, such as tablets, has been in the air since 2009.

At the time there were about 30 models on the market and the European Commission and the main mobile manufacturers in Europe – including Apple, Nokia, Samsung, Sony or LG, among others – signed a voluntary agreement to harmonize them.

This allowed to reduce the number of models, so that right now in the European market there are three main types of chargers: USB 2.0 Micro B, USB C and the Lightning system, which are used exclusively by Apple devices.

However, the agreement between the industry expired in 2014 and the European Parliament already asked the Commission to adopt binding regulation to develop a single charger. But the initiative never saw the light of day.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution in January 2020 demanding that the Executive introduce this standard charger.

For their part, and despite the apparent benefit it would have for users, manufacturers are reluctant to adopt a single model, particularly Apple, whose chargers can only be used with their brand devices.

In a public consultation on the issue by the Commission in early 2019, the computer giant argued that regulations harmonizing phone connectors “will freeze innovation rather than boost it.”

Manzana ensures that you want to avoid new legislation forcing you to send more cables or external adapters with each device or obsolete devices already used by millions of consumers, which “would result in an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and great inconvenience for users.”

The American manufacturer advocates that it is the industry that cooperates, without the need to legislate.

The Commission’s legislative proposal would be a step towards that single loader, although the final legislative text must be negotiated with the 27 Member States and the European Parliament.

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