Common charger: a long-awaited proposal requested by Parliament

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

Over the last decade, Parliament has urged the Commission to table a proposal on a common charger to tackle e-waste and make life easier for consumers.

The European Parliament and its Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee have been insisting on a common charger solution for years, continuously asking the Commission to act through a series of own-initiative reports, resolutions, and questions addressed to Commissioners.

In 2014, Parliament strongly advocated for a common charger for all mobile phones during the negotiations of the Radio Equipment Directive (RED).

Since then, several other Parliament initiatives have directly or indirectly asked for mobile phone chargers to be standardised, such as a resolution adopted on 30 January 2020 calling on the Commission to introduce a standard for a common charger “as a matter of urgency”.

Moreover, in a recent resolution from 10 February 2021 on the new circular economy action plan, MEPs called on the Commission to introduce urgently a common charger for smartphones and similar devices to best ensure standardised, compatible and interoperable charging options and asked the Commission to prepare a decoupling strategy for chargers and harmonised labelling.


Statement by Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee Chair, Anna Cavazzini (Greens/EFA, DE), on the common charger proposal presented yesterday by the Commission:

“Over the last decade, the European Parliament has pushed for the Commission to table a proposal on a common charger with a view to tackle e-waste, make life easier for consumers and empower them to make sustainable choices.

This initiative includes many elements that are important to our committee, such as the harmonisation of the charging point enabling the smooth functioning of the internal market, a high level of consumer protection and reducing electronic waste.

We must finally get rid of the cable clutter in our drawers; we have had enough of having the wrong charging cable in our backpack for the device we are carrying. Uniform charging cables will help consumers to save money and save the planet’s resources.

Electrical and electronic equipment continues to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the EU. It is particularly important that the proposed rules apply not only to smartphones but also to tablets and other mobile devices, as requested by Parliament. Rapid technological developments must be taken into account, especially since the Commission has already wasted so much time.

Parliament will now be working on this legislative proposal. We will do our utmost to ensure smooth cooperation with the Commission and the Council to reach an agreement that will benefit European consumers as well as the industry, with the objectives of the European Green Deal at its core”.

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