After almost fifteen years of haggling about procedures and powers, there is finally one universal European charger for all mobile phones and laptops. The European Parliament approved this for the umpteenth time last night. That obligation to standardize will come into effect as of 2026, or so the intention is.
The widely used Type-C USB output is becoming the norm for portable devices. Consumers will soon also be able to choose whether they want to buy a mobile device with or without a charger. Over the past ten years, MEPs have repeatedly called for the introduction of a universal charger.
The producers were first urged to voluntarily come up with a charger themselves, but they failed to do so. Now picks up the EU itself and makes it mandatory.
CDA MEP Toine Manders already proposed a universal charger in 2009. He was not taken seriously then, he says now. De Brabander complains that it will also take years before the charger is mandatory.
'Why does everything have to take so long? Do the multinationals have too much influence, too much power, or does the European Commission have too little power? Because in 2011, when the proposal was unanimously adopted by parliament and ministers, this should have been an established fact long ago.'
The manufacturers of mobile phones, tablets and cameras still have two years to adapt to the new rules. By the end of 2024, all of these devices sold in the EU should have a USB Type-C charging port. From the spring of 2026, it will be laptops' turn.
Thanks to the law passed by the European Parliament, consumers will soon save up to 250 million euros per year. That is because they are free of the obligation to buy a new charger with ieder mobile device.
In addition, there will soon be labels for consumers on which they can see what the charging characteristics of new devices are. Furthermore, wireless charging is increasingly becoming the norm, the MEPs acknowledge.
'With the standardization of the charger, we ensure ease of use for consumers, reduce electronic waste and tackle market fragmentation in the European Union,' says MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen.
Equal standards are important for the proper functioning of the internal market, according to the SGP member. 'This is an important added value for European cooperation, and the directive for a universal charger for electronic devices is a very good example of this.'