The preliminary agreement on the Amended Radio Equipment Directive, establishes a unified charging solution for certain electronic devices. This law is part of a broader EU effort to make products in the EU more sustainable, reduce e-waste and make consumers’ lives easier.
Under the new regulations, consumers no longer need a different charger and cable every time they buy a new device, and can use a single charger for all their small and medium-sized portable electronic devices. Mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earphones, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld video game consoles, and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a cable must be equipped with a USB Type-C connector, regardless of their manufacturer. Laptops must also be adapted to the requirements up to 40 months after they come into force.
The charging speed is also harmonized 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 get clear information about the charging characteristics of new devices, making it easier for them to see if their existing chargers are compatible. Shoppers can also choose to buy new electronic devices with or without a charger.
These new commitments will lead to more charger reuse and help consumers save up to 100% 250 million euros per year on unnecessary purchases of chargers. Discarded and unused chargers are disposed of estimated to represent approximately 11,000 tons of e-waste annually.
Promotion of technological innovations
With the increasing spread of wireless charging technology, the European Commission is empowered to develop so-called delegated acts on the interoperability of charging solutions.
Parliament rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT) said: “Today we made the common charger a reality in Europe! European consumers have long been frustrated by the proliferation of multiple chargers with every new device. Now they can use a single charger for all their portable electronics. We are proud that it includes laptops, e-readers, earphones, keyboards, computer mice and portable navigation devices in addition to smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, portable video game consoles and portable speakers. We’ve also added regulations on wireless charging as the next evolution in charging technology, and improved consumer information and labeling.”
On Tuesday 7 June from 12.30 CEST, Parliament’s Rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT) and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton will hold a joint press conference in the European Parliament’s press conference room in Strasbourg.
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Watch the recording of the press conference here.
After the summer break, Parliament and Council must formally approve the agreement before it is published in the EU Official Journal. It comes into force 20 days after publication and its provisions begin to apply after 24 months. The new rules do not apply to products that were placed on the market before they came into force.
In the last ten years, Parliament has been continuous vocation calls on the Commission to present a proposal for a common solution for chargers. That legislative proposal was filed on September 23, 2021.