Parliament backs universal mobile phone chargers


All mobile phones on the European market will soon have to use a standard charger after the European Parliament voted on a directive on Thursday (13 March).

Mobile phone and smartphone producers such as Samsung, Apple and Nokia will have to offer their European customers a standardised charger model by 2017.

The MEPs decided on new rules at their plenary session in Strasbourg, on Thursday. The directive passed with 550 votes in favour, with 12 against and 8 abstentions.

Barbara Weiler, a German socialist MEP and rapporteur on the dossier, said in a statement: “I am especially pleased that we agreed on the introduction of a common charger. It will put an end to charger clutter and 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste annually.”

"The current incompatibility of chargers for mobile phones, smart phones, tablets, digital cameras, music players is a nightmare and a real inconvenience for consumers. This new directive ends this nightmare and is also good news for the environment.”

European consumers have become familiar for years now with the ever-changing formats for chargers, which often differ between brands but also between models of mobile phones, tablets and other devices.

Many of the mobile phones on the market already follow the standard micro-USB format, but smartphone giants Apple and Nokia will now have to adapt their models to this standard too. Parliament clarified in a press release that the European Commission would determine which specific devices were to fall under the new rules.

Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani, in charge of the initial directive, said the decision on introducing a common charger “is very good news for our citizens and for the environment” and that the directive will give a boost to the “essential” European communications market.

The EU Parliament also adopted new rules on how telecom and other devices interact with one another. It hopes to avoid interference of devices that make use of radio spectrums, for example car-door openers or radios.

Lawmakers in EU member states will have stronger instruments to check whether new products comply with the rules and, for instance, do not interfere with other products already on the market. The EU is set to introduce a pan-European list of goods on the market, which is hoped will make it easier to check this information.

The directive still has to pass a vote in the EU Council of Ministers but was agreed in trilogue negotiations, earlier. After Council approves the rules, EU member states will have two years to implement them and manufacturers have another year to comply.

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Barry Davies's picture

I see that they completely missed the simple well known fact that there are different plugs throughout the eussr, and so a standardised connector would need to be able to somehow fit every plug without an adaptor, I always thought a usb plug would be a good option for this, at the other end.

David Smith's picture

@Batty Davies: Once again you show your ignorance, not just because you do not understand that the USSR was a single party political state unlike the EU but the fact that any PSU(charger) only needs to be supplied with the country relevant pins, these being a slide on part.

The real problem here is, because both Euro and BS sockets are used in areas of the world outside of the EU the phone manufactures will still want to package chargers with their phones due to the fact that the same packs will then be able to supply more than just the EU area.

David Smith's picture

Oops, what a typo, apologies, no offence intended to BARRY Davies.

Ben Carlin (CEN & CENELEC)'s picture

The European Standard EN 62684:2010 specifies the common charging capability and interface requirements for external power supplies to be used with data-enabled mobile phones. It makes reference to the micro-USB standard connector, as announced by the USB Implementers’ Forum (USB-IF) in 2007.

The standard was developed by CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) in collaboration with the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), following a request from the European Commission (EC Mandate 455). Smartphone manufacturers (as represented by DigitalEurope) were involved in the drafting process.

CENELEC, which brings together the National Electrotechnical Committees of 33 European countries, works closely with the IEC in the framework of a technical cooperation agreement. The result of this collaboration is that 75% of all the European Standards adopted by CENELEC are either identical to or based on the equivalent international standards as published by the IEC. This international alignment of standards brings significant benefits, for example in terms of improving safety and increasing consumer choice, and also enables manufacturers to sell their products around the world.

Barry Davies's picture

David you will find that usb plugs are used all around the world that is why I mentioned them.