European Parliament aims to unify chargers for mobile phones and tablets

A USB-C connection. Image: Wikipedia - Tomato86 CC BY-SA 4.0

Chargers of all mobile phones and tablets will be unified if a proposal by the European Parliament is passed

This Friday, April 22, the European Parliament took the first step towards unifying chargers for portable electronic devices, as a measure to reduce electronic waste. A reform of the directive on radioelectric devices that will force all manufacturers to install a USB C type connection has been approved by the Commission for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

This provision would apply to all mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, consoles, and portable speakers. It will apply to whatever the brand or manufacturer, including those of Apple, which until now do not use it.

Only devices that are too small for it, such as smartwatches, health trackers, and some sports equipment, would be exempt from this obligation.

MEPs also want labels to have clearer information about charging options, and to indicate whether or not the product includes a charger. This they claim, would help avoid confusion, and make purchasing decisions easier for consumers who don’t always need additional chargers when purchasing a new device.

With ​​this reform, the Commission will also be able to present a regulation before the end of 2026 that allows a minimum of mandatory interoperability for any new battery charging technology for small appliances that standardises devices and chargers to avoid market fragmentation. Brands that oppose this obligation claim that it reduces the capacity for innovation in the industry.

Alex Agius Saliba, the Maltese Socialist MEP, who is the rapporteur for this proposal, highlighted that some 500 million chargers arrive in the EU each year. They generate between 11,000 and 13,000 tonnes of waste, so the rationalisation of these systems collected by the proposal “will help reuse old electronics, save money, and reduce unnecessary costs and inconvenience for both businesses and consumers”.

In May, this proposal must be voted on in the plenary session. If it is approved, talks must begin with the member countries within the Council, to define the final form of the legislation, as reported by abc.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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