EU imposes single charger for all smartphones

Published October 5, 2022
Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session on the Radio Equipment Directive for a common charger for electronic devices during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on October 4, 2022. — AFP
Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session on the Radio Equipment Directive for a common charger for electronic devices during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, on October 4, 2022. — AFP

STRASBOURG: The EU parliament on Tuesday passed a new law requiring USB-C to be the single charger standard for all new smartphones, tablets and cameras from late 2024.

The measure, which EU lawmakers adopted with a vote 602 in favour, 13 against, will — in Europe at least — push Apple to drop its outdated Lightning port on its iPhones for the USB-C one already used by many of its competitors. Makers of laptops will have extra time, from early 2026, to also follow suit.

EU policymakers say the single charger rule will simplify the life of Europeans, reduce the mountain of obsolete chargers and reduce costs for consumers.

It is expected to save at least 200 million euros ($195m) per year and cut more than a thousand tonnes of EU electronic waste every year, the bloc’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager said.

The EU move is expected to ripple around the world.

The European Union’s 27 countries are home to 450 million people who count among the world’s wealthiest consumers. Regulatory changes in the bloc often set global industry norms in what is known as the Brussels Effect.

“Today is a great day for consumers, a great day for our environment,” Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba, the European Parliament’s pointman on the issue, said.

“After more than a decade, the single charger for multiple electronic devices will finally become a reality for Europe and hopefully we can also inspire the rest of the world,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022

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