Brussels, 7 June 2022

From mobile phones to digital cameras, consumers will soon be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronic devices.

By autumn 2024, USB Type-C will become the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets, and cameras in the EU, Parliament and Council negotiators agreed today.

The provisional agreement on theamended Radio Equipment Directive, establishes a single charging solution for certain electronic devices. This law is a part of a broader EU effort to make products in the EU more sustainable, to reduce electronic waste, and make consumers’ lives easier.

Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different charging device and cable every time they purchase a new device, and can use one single charger for all of their small and medium-sized portable electronic devices. Mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacturer. Laptops will also have to be adapted to the requirements by 40 months after the entry into force.

The charging speed is also harmonised for devices that support fast charging, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.

Better information and choice for consumers

Consumers will be provided with clear information on the charging characteristics of new devices, making it easier for them to see whether their existing chargers are compatible. Buyers will also be able to choose whether they want to purchase new electronic equipment with or without a charging device.

These new obligations will lead to more re-use of chargers and will help consumers save up to250 million euro a yearon unnecessary charger purchases. Disposed of and unused chargers areestimatedto represent about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually.

Encouraging technological innovation

As wireless charging technology becomes more prevalent, the European Commission will be empowered to develop so-called delegated acts, on the interoperability of charging solutions.

Quote

Parliament’s rapporteurAlex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT)said: “Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe! European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics. We are proud that laptops, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, computer mice, and portable navigation devices are also included in addition to smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers. We have also added provisions on wireless charging being the next evolution in the charging technology and improved information and labelling for consumers”.

Press conference

On Tuesday, 7 June, from 12.30 CEST, Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT) and Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton gave a joint press conference in the European Parliament’s press conference room in Strasbourg.

More details on how to follow are available in thismedia advisory.

Watch the recording of the press conferencehere.

Next steps

After the summer recess, Parliament and Council will have to formally approve the agreement before it is published in the EU Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after publication and its provisions will start to apply after 24 months. The new rules would not apply to products placed on the market before the date of application.

Background

In the past decade, Parliament has been continuouslycallingon the Commission to table a proposal on a common charger solution. Thelegislative proposalwas tabled on 23 September 2021.

Source: European Parliament

 


EU Commission welcomes political agreement on a common charger in the EU

Brussels, 7 June 2022

The Commission welcomes the swift provisional political agreement reached this morning between the European Parliament and EU Member States on the Commission’s proposal on a common charging solution adopted in September 2021. As of 2024, all new handheld mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, handheld videogame consoles, headphones, headsets, portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, and earbuds will have to be equipped with a USB-C charging port. The deadline for laptops is 2026.

Leveraging the power of the Single Market, these new and long-awaited rules will bring resource and CO2 savings while allowing technological innovation.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, said: 

“No more bundles of different chargers in our drawers. One common charger is a real benefit to us as consumers. It will also help our environment. So we welcome today’s agreement of the common charger following a swift conclusion of negotiations between the co-legislators.”

Thierry Breton, Commissioner responsible for the Internal Market, said: 

“A common charger is common sense for the many electronic devices on our daily lives. Thanks to our strong political commitment, we found an agreement in less than 9 months. European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics – an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste. The deal we struck this morning will bring around 250 million euros of savings to consumers annually.  It will also allow new technologies such as wireless charging to emerge and to mature without letting innovation to become source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience.”

Today’s agreement reached by the co-legislators confirms and extends the Commission’s proposal:

  • The charging port and fast charging technology will be harmonised: first, USB-C will be the common port. This will allow consumers to charge their devices with the same USB-C charger, regardless of the device brand. At the same time, harmonising fast charging technology will help prevent that different producers unjustifiably limit the charging speed and will help to ensure that charging speed is the same when using any compatible charger for a device. These rules will now apply to a range of electronic devices mentioned above. More devices may be included in the future following regular assessment of the market by the Commission.
  • Unbundling the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device: consumers will be able to purchase a new electronic device without a new charger. This will limit the number of unwanted chargers purchased or left unused. The results produced and the possible extension of the measure to the cable will be assessed in the course of the implementation.
  • Improved information for consumers: producers will need to provide relevant information about charging performance, including information on the power required by the device and if it supports fast charging. This will make it easier for consumers to see if their existing chargers meet the requirements of their new device or help them to select a compatible charger.
  • Setting the way for harmonised wireless charging solutions: since the technology is evolving rapidly and in order to limit a potential future fragmentation of the market, the Commission will assess the different technologies available in view of a possible future harmonisation, and will request to European Standardisation Organisations that the appropriate solution is translated into a harmonised standard.

The agreement reached today also ensures that the common charger solutions can be implemented without delay, especially given the widely available technological solutions and ample time already given to industry to adapt. A transition period of 24 months from official adoption is therefore established to make the common charger a reality for everyone for all categories of products in scope except for laptops which will benefit from 40 months.

Background

In 2020, approximately 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic devices were sold in the EU. However, due to incompatible chargers on the market more than a third of consumers report having experiencing problems, while spending approximately €2.4 billion annually on additional standalone chargers. At the same time, disposed of and unused chargers contribute to around 11,000 tonnes of e-waste every year.

The Commission has supported a common charging solution for mobile phones and similar electronic devices since 2009. While years of working with industry on a voluntary approach helped to bring down the number of mobile phone chargers from 30 to 3 within the last decade, this approach did not allow achieve the full harmonisation. With regards to the unbundling of chargers, there was currently no legal basis to frame such a practice. Since it delivers significant environmental benefits, it is important to complement the harmonisation of the charging receptacle. Additionally, the harmonisation of the charging protocol ensures that both provisions guarantee the full interoperability and retrieve the biggest benefits for consumers and the environment. Those benefits will be enhanced by the broadening of the list of categories of products covered. With regards to wireless charging, the Commission will monitor the evolution of the technologies and market dynamic with the objective of introducing a future harmonisation.

More Information

Press release on the Commission’s proposal on a common charging solution for electronic devices

Factsheet on the Commission’s proposal on a common charging solution for electronic devices

 


Consumers win with the S&Ds: a common charger for mobile devices is a reality

Consumers will no longer be obliged to buy a new charger together with their purchase of an electronic device if their old charger is compatible. Instead, buyers will be able to choose whether to purchase a new device with or without a charging device. This has been made possible thanks to the efforts of S&D vice-president Alex Agius Saliba who is the European Parliament’s negotiator on the matter with the European Commission and the Member States in the Council of the EU. The new rules will mean that consumers will now be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics, which is an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste.

MEP Alex Agius Saliba, S&D Group vice-president and EP negotiator on the matter of a common charger, said:

“By autumn 2024, the USB Type-C will become the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras. As for laptops, the date is set for the end of 2025. This is one of the greatest achievements of our group, having a direct impact on all citizens wherever they live in the EU. This is good for your pocket, but also undoubtedly good for the environment. The agreement reached today is amending the existing Radio Equipment Directive. My work on it as the European Parliament’s chief negotiator and the outcome of the negotiations today reflect the deepest convictions of the entire S&D Group – products should be sustainable, to reduce electronic waste and make consumers’ rights easier.

“The European Commission’s proposal was a solid base to start building on. Moreover, the S&Ds made it possible to extend the scope of devices covered by the new rules for a common charger. The result of the deal we reached today will now include mobile phones and similar devices such as tablets; digital cameras; headphones and headsets; handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are recharged via a wired cable to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of the device brand, so that the same charger can be used for all those different devices. We added to the list laptops, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, computer mice, and portable navigation devices.