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.

Joe Thorpe's picture

More EU tripe so the likes of Apple will need to provide different charges for their phones & all the pods in cars & music centres that take Ipods will be redundant because they will have to have some HDMI or USB style charger? The sooner we get out of this lunatic asylum called the EU the better. They will want to get us all on 110V next so we can standardise with America of the Utopian trade agreement.

Sam Lowry's picture

Apple Nokia will find ways to make their USB cables incompatible.

Just like them did with mini-jacks for headsets. They look like a mini-jack, work like a mini-jack, but no other mini-jack pin can fit it.

BritishGuy's picture

Joe Thorpe, I am replying to you, however it appears you are mentally challenged or deluded so please don't feel offended.
How is creating a single phone charger 'EU tripe'? In what way will any existing equipment become redundant, no one is confiscating your existing chargers...

A person with such strong European hatred as yourself would surely like to align to the US 110V standard?

Joe Thorpe's picture

This is communism, we will all soon have to buy chairman mow outfits & look like Kim Jung Un but we will be able to export more easily as we wont have to compete on style

BritishGuy's picture

@Joe Thorpe

Thank you for confirming my suspicions that you are indeed insane.

Joe Thorpe's picture


My car has an ipod dock that the phone sits in I guess ill have to buy a new car that will come the EUSSR USB

BritishGuy's picture

@British Guy

Apple have changed their charger is the last year, this is exactly what this EU directive is trying to prevent. You may notice that Apple is the only smartphone user which still refuses to use micro usb.

Joe Thorpe's picture

Maybe you think Apple should stop using IOS & adopt android so that everyone is interoperable with everyone singing off the same hymn sheet or insist everyone uses windows & give microsoft back their monopoly. Why is choice such a bad think in the eyes of the EU?

BritishGuy's picture

The EU was the organisation which cracked down on Microsoft's monopoly so stop being so ridiculous. Duplicate cables cause tonnes of electronic waste, CO2 and financial cost. Why the hell would anyone want a choice of cables which do exactly the same thing?

Joe Thorpe's picture

Your obviously a communist EU troll have a happy life with your all in one cables. I hope the EU pays you well to troll such rubbish

BritishGuy's picture

I am a normal working British citizen who appreciates that the EU often passes regulations which make life better for consumers. You are a deluded anti-EU troll and one of the minority of people who would be against this regulation, regardless of their views on the EU.

Barry Davies's picture

So the eussr cracked down on microsofts software did it, in what way? Apple has a unix based op, you can still get linux, both have been around for a long time, but lets be honest government use microsoft so they are actually supporting it. And what did they do to make sure chips were made by different manufacturers, just the one now rules the pc market. I'm just a British guy that realises the eussr makes so much worse for us and some deluded people are taken in by the rich people who use it to make themselves more money at a cost to the majority.

David Smith's picture

@Joe Thorpe: Those who want the UK to become in effect the 51st state of the USA are the ones who are more likely to want a move to 110v AC (and at 60Hz no doubt, not forgetting a change to the NTSC TV system too...), although I agree that the EU might one day mandate the "Euro" plug/socket for new build, meaning that the UK will have to fall out of love with the inherently dangerous Ring Circuit, returning to far safer radial circuit protected at 15amps (or less) on the distribution pannel, the only advantage the UK BS socket has are the shuttered terminals.

Anyway, this is about mains chargers, not interconnect cables or in-car interfaces! Yes both Apple and MS should indeed stop using their own proprietary standards to try and lock users into their own approved software and/or accessories, unless you really are short of a few marbles or are a brand-mark junkie you should be welcoming these EU initiatives! Oh and Joe, if those you disagree with the are "communist EU trolls" then you must be a simple drunk troll on a Friday night, do feel free to pour the Gin back and take a walk to clear your obviously muddled mind... The idea behind this directive is good, the implementation is poor, in so much as it will not stop phone chargers from being packaged alongside new phones.

@Barry Davies: who the hell has a USB socket if you don't have either a computer or a very rare USB adaptor mounted into a wall faceplate - clue, more people do not have access to a USB socket then do, 99% of people have access to their national electrical supply socket though!

Oh and if you bothered to actually find something, anything, out about the EU you would know that the EU have been cracking down on Microsoft (and indeed Apple) were anti competitive practises have been taking place in the market place, for example stopping MS from pre-packaging only Internet Explorer. Indeed, if I recall, there has been moves within the EU to favour and promote the use of open source software.

Barry Davies's picture

Oh dear the simple minded BS that the UK would become the 51st star of the US again. Clearly you have no idea that usb can run power as well, no matter you carry on pretending to be clever, oh and if you bothered to find out anything about the eussr you would know that the TTIP agreement that our unelected rulers want to sign up to will hand over far more power to microsoft Apple and every other American company. Anyone with an ounce of understanding of computers has been using open source software anyway, without the idiots of the unelected democratically deficient eussr poking their noses in to something they don't understand.

David Smith's picture

@Barry Davies: Oh I see, so you can make silly claims about what the UK is within the EU but no one can make counter suggestions - oh and you are even more illiterate than I thought possible, go look up what is meant by the phase "Devils Advocate". No wonder you so like being part of a flock of sheeple looking of the escaped goat! Oh and as for USB sockets, had you comprehended what I said you would have noticed that I actually do know that USB sockets can provide a power supply, indeed some do nothing else, not being data links at all - but any of this is not a given, for example some laptops do not have powered USB sockets, and I suspect that the same is true of some tablets.

Barry Davies's picture

David you are not being a devils advocate at all if you were it would mean you actually agreed with me.

In common parlance, a devil's advocate is someone who, given a certain argument, takes a position they do not necessarily agree with, for the sake of debate. In taking this position, the individual taking on the devil's advocate role seeks to engage others in an argumentative discussion process.

If you want to be what is referred to as a troll you are doing a fine job in that case. I have used the old out of date, not been used for a decade, usb sockets that don't have power but would doubt very much if 90% of computers in use today don't have usb2, and later which definitely do. Even my 10 year old mobile, which I only use as a phone has one.

David Smith's picture

@Barry Davies: Oh and Barry, if you must carry on with your obsessed nonsense, attempting to make out that the EU is a single party communist state, can you prove that you do actually know the first thing about computer, use the Shift-Key?! It should be the "EUSSR", the European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as you would know had you any grasp of the written word...

David Smith's picture

@Barry Davies: FFS I wasn't replying to you, I was replying to Joe and his daft suggestion that the EU would mandate a change in voltage to 110v, that is away from the EU wide standard of 220-250v - do try and follow the conversation! I do realise that you are not the brightest spark, that is why I tend to indicate to who I'm replying/talking to via the use of the "@" sign. Oh and the only troll is you, and those like you, people whose sole reason for coming to sites like this is to make nothing but endless silly comments about the "EUSSR" etc, rather than actually debate the issues in a intelligent and grown-up way. Oh and do go and find out what a devils advocate is, as you couldn't have been more wrong in your assumptions, clue I was throwing Joe's argument straight back at him using the exact opposite argument but with the same (irrational) rational.

David Smith's picture

@Barry, re USB's, read what I actually said, not what you think I said - once again - not all USB sockets can supply power, the fact that 100% of computers are fitted with at least one USB2 socket (and many are now being supplied with at least one USB3) is irrelevant. You also seem to be assuming that the mobile phone owner has such a computer, not a safe assumption to make, I suppose you think everyone also has internet access and communicates using nothing but emails and/or text messages along with that mobile phone they can't use 'cos they don;t have a powered USB socket of some description...

Barry Davies's picture

Oh dear oh dear oh dear David you placed @barry Davies at the commencement of your words so that being me I assumed you were replying to me, I never thought that @Barry Davies meant anybody other than me, so naturally being a decent minded sort of person who has always shown compassion for the intellectually challenged I replied to your rant. BTW if you think that saying how everything is awesome is a debate you are in the wrong place.

an european's picture

Ah finally !!

See apple who again makes people angry by adopting AGAIN a new 8 pin connector to the 5.gen pods.

Still own gen4 pods because switching' costs me a new JBL one Time Dock system as well my big Portable JVC Ghetto-blaster..

With only 2 out of 4 pins like micro USB TX/RX you can command a whole system !! So It's really understandable why proprietary connector system is necessary for to fit Apple's ideology!

Even in the U.S.A cellulars chargers are today mostly in micro usb !

Even the British VERTU manufacturer of handmade cellulars ,the most expensive in the world (handmade), which comes with an micro usb connector too !!

Joe Thorpe's picture

So what? because the communist commissars say we all have to have the same crap as everyone else we all have to lose our individuality which is what the EU is all about the removal of individuality.

an european's picture

"The EU is all about the removal of individuality"
Not only E.U. and U.K. Japan U.S. and count up ..

But seems a new Thorpe-Davies connector has to be manufactured especially for themselves .

Barry Davies's picture

An european needs to get out more, he makes up things about places in the world outside of his house all the time.