The European Commission gives the first legal step to impose a universal mobile charger and tablets

The European Commission wants that within three or four years, at most, all electronic devices for daily use are charged with the same charger, regardless of th

The European Commission gives the first legal step to impose a universal mobile charger and tablets

The European Commission wants that within three or four years, at most, all electronic devices for daily use are charged with the same charger, regardless of their brand. If the idea goes ahead, mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, video consoles, headphones or portable speakers will have to be manufactured with the USB-C port and companies will have to offer the possibility that whoever acquires a new device does it without new chargers , to save on costs and to reduce the impact on the environment.

The proposal is, for the moment, only that. He has presented it this Thursday in Brussels the Vice President Margrethe Vestager and Commissioner Thierry Breton. "European consumers have been frustrated for a long time due to the accumulation of incompatible chargers in their drawers. We have given the industry a long time to propose their own solutions but now the time has come to legislate. This is an important victory for our consumers and the environment and is in line with our ecological and digital ambitions, "said Danish. "With increasing devices are sold more and more chargers who are not interchangeable or are not necessary. Today we put an end to that. With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronic devices, an important step for Increase comfort and reduce waste ", has added the French

Last year, 420 million portable devices were sold in the EU and, according to the data that the Commission handles, each European has at least three telephone chargers, from which it uses two almost daily. The annual expenditure in chargers exceeds 2,400 million euros and 11,000 tons of waste are generated with the damaged, lost or replaced by the change of apparatus. In 2009, the EU began to press the manufacturers to walk towards a single charger, and although in a decade the number of variants has gone from 30 to three, Brussels still want to unify them.

The road begins now. The European Commission, which is the one who has the legislative initiative in the EU, has made its proposal and will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council (Governments). There is no established term. The discussion may hesitate six months or years, depending on the discrepancies. First the 27 capitals must agree their common position and then exchanges with MEPs begin. In these types of cases, Parliament tends to be more ambitious and to adopt the position of consumers, advocating broader and more demanding directives, while the Council, more sensitive to the complaints of the industry, usually attempts to wander the initial proposal, with More flexible conditions, less demanding and more dilated over time. Thus, the Commission proposes a period of 24 months of transition, from the entry into force of this hypothetical idea, so that the industry is adjusted to the changes, but in the negotiation the term could be extended much more. In the most optimistic case the new reality would be palpable in three or four years.

Actually, two legal changes are needed. The Commissioners offer today to modify the Radio Equipment Directive, but to have a total interoperability there are two parts, the electronic device and the plug. Today the first area is addressed but for the chargers itself will be touched in ecological design regulations, something that the Commission expects to be solved before the end of the year so that the deadlines coincide.

The Community proposal has four legs. A harmonized charger with a USB-c port. An equal technology for all that "prevent manufacturers from limiting the loading speed unjustified". Third, the legislation would mandatory to give the client to acquire a telephone or a tablet without loaders (the cable can be included, since it serves for other things besides giving energy), although companies can offer them to anyone who wants . And finally, more and better information for consumers, as manufacturers would be required to specify the performance of each charger to know if it is the most suitable for their interests.

The Commission has received many pressures these months trying to delay or even to withdraw the initiative. The sector believes that the work done voluntarily has been effective, with that reduction of 30 charger models to three in just over a decade, but the institutions denounce lack of ambition and commitment. In 2009, a memorandum of understanding was signed, but expired in 2014 without renewing. In 2018, the industry offered a roadmap that Brussels considered it always insufficient, hence the legislative, and forced pathway, after three years without being able to agree a 'voluntary' solution.

Updated Date: 23 September 2021, 12:58

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