One charger for everything. There is an EU decision | EU-Poland-Germany – Polish news | DW

According to the agreement reached by EU negotiators on Tuesday (07/06/22), from autumn 2024 all EU consumers will be able to use a universal charger for small and medium-sized portable electronic devices. cut. The USB-C socket will become the applicable standard, and all devices released by manufacturers in the EU market, regardless of brand, must be designed to include a corresponding input.

The regulations apply to a specific group of electronic devices, including cellphones, tablets, book readers, digital cameras, headphones, portable speakers and game consoles. Following pressure from the European Parliament, this list has also been extended to laptops – here, however, manufacturers will have until the end of 2025 to adapt their devices – as well as keyboards, computer mice and portable GPS devices. As EU officials assure, this list will be constantly reviewed and, if necessary, extended, for example, to smartwatches, which are missing from the current list. To make changes in the future, it is sufficient for the Commission to issue a delegated act, which does not require the prior approval of the Council and the European Parliament.

Consumers will have a choice

In addition to the agreement on a common charger, the EU institutions also agreed that labeling should be improved for consumers who, when buying new equipment, must receive clear information on the charging characteristics of new devices. Manufacturers will be required to display on boxes or labels attached to electronic devices information about the devices charging efficiency, including the maximum power required by the device for optimal charging. This will make it easier for users to check whether their existing chargers meet the new requirements and are compatible with purchased equipment.

Under the new regulations, buyers will also be able to choose whether they want to buy new electronic equipment with or without a charger. The manufacturer will always be able to attach a charging cable to the equipment sold – consumers also want this, because cables are among the elements that fail most often, and they can also be used for other purposes, such as data transfer – in the box, however, there will not be there must have already been a separate charger.

The EU has also agreed to harmonize provisions for fast charging technology – to allow users to charge their devices at the same speed using any compatible charger. This is to prevent manufacturers from being tempted to deliberately limit USB-C charging speed to show that the universal charger is inferior and runs slower than before. Regulations for wireless charging have also been added and are seen as the next step in the development of charging technology.

More savings, less e-waste

The introduction of a universal charger aims to reduce the number of chargers and cables that consumers have to procure today when buying new devices. EC data shows that the average European consumer has about three chargers, two of which are used daily. Nevertheless, one in three people admits that they have found themselves in a situation where they have not been able to charge the phone at least once, because none of the available chargers are suitable.

The plenary hall of the European Parliament in Strasbourg

European consumers have long been frustrated with the growing mountain of new cables and chargers launched with each new device. Now all they need is a charger compatible with all portable electronic devices. We are proud that the EP has managed to expand the list with additional products, including laptops, said Alex Agius Saliba, Maltese MEP from the Social Democratic Group, who was the EP’s rapporteur on this issue, during the the scheduled session in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

According to EU estimates, the new regulations will save Europeans at least €250 million a year on the purchase of chargers. They will also reduce the amount of electro-waste by around 11,000 tonnes – that many used and unnecessary loaders end up in landfills every year. No wonder, in 2020 alone, around 420 million mobile phones and electronic devices were sold in the EU, most of them with chargers or charging cables. – The new regulations will not only make life easier for EU consumers, but will also be extremely beneficial for the environment. It’s time to stop piling up mountains of cables in drawers and producing thousands of tonnes of electrical waste a year, said Bulgarian MEP Andrei Kovachev on behalf of the EPP Group.

years of negotiation

– We fought for this for many years – acknowledged Polish MEP Róża Thun (Renew), who is heavily involved in promoting new regulations.

Because discussions about the introduction of a common charger have been going on in the EU for 13 years. In 2009, at the initiative of the Commission, manufacturers entered into a voluntary agreement to standardize chargers, but Apple soon broke the contract, which began to use its own Lightning connector in its devices. The company also lobbied intensively against the introduction of a universal socket, arguing that standardization would hamper innovation and technological development. Nevertheless, the European Parliament has asked the Commission to prepare the relevant legislation. Last year, the latter presented a draft revision of the European directive on radio devices, part of which is the agreement on a uniform charger standard which has just been adopted.

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