If the Italian political elections and the little theater set up by Elon Musk against Twitter didn’t seem enough to you, you should know that in recent months there has been something else. In other words, the EU proposal to have all electronic devices adopt a single charging standard, which was opposed by a strong no.
The question, however, seems to have been definitively resolved. Indeed the Council of the EU has expressed itself in a peremptory and definitive way. There will be a universal charger, and it will go into effect in 2024.
Let’s see better what the final ok of the EU Council consists of, after which we retrace the long quarrel that saw on the one hand mainly environmental reasons, which were opposed by the reasons of companies, primarily Apple.
The go-ahead from the EU Council has arrived: universal charger from 2024
The decision arrived, and was released in a note published on 24 October.
The EU Council has definitively approved the single charger, which will be mandatory starting from 2024.
The chosen format is today the most popular for smartphones, namely USB-C (the one, to understand, that does not have an upper and a lower side).
The text was approved by the Council with 602 votes in favor, 13 against and 8 abstentions.
The advantages of the single charger
Precisely in the note, the EU Council itself recalls the advantages derived from a single charger, which can be used for different devices, from smartphones to tablets to headphones.
Meanwhile, there is that of a practical nature: with a single charging standard, we will no longer waste time looking around the house for the desired charger (which is always the only one that is not found). And then, indeed above all, there is environmental protection: “We all have at least three cell phone chargers at home. Searching for the right charger, whether at home or at work, can be quite annoying. Furthermore, these shippers amount to 11,000 tons of electronic waste every year.
Having a charger that fits multiple devices will save time and money and will also help us reduce electronic waste ”.
What will change
In the directive we also read that, when the directive is operational, consumers will be able to buy the new devices with or without chargers. And each product will have a label that will illustrate the charging performance.
“Four years after the entry into force of the directive, the Commission will consider whether this breakdown of sales should be made mandatory”.
The devices involved
The new universal charger rules established by the EU Council will apply to several products. More specifically, to cell phones, tablets, e-readers, digital cameras, video game consoles, headphones, earphones, portable speakers, mice, wireless keyboards, portable navigation systems.
Furthermore, all laptops will also be affected 40 months after the directive enters into force.
The process of the proposal
The proposal to adopt a universal charger was put forward by the European Commission on 23 September 2021.
On 26 January 2022, Member States unanimously accepted the Council’s position on the directive. On 7 June 2022, the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the directive on common chargers, which was then approved by the representatives of the member states on 29 June 2022. And now we are with the Council’s final go ahead.
Now, after the signature of the President of the European Parliament and the President of the Council, the legislative act will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force 20 days after publication. The new rules will apply 24 months after they come into effect.
As we said at the beginning of the article, it goes without saying that the main opponents to the proposal to adopt a universal charger were the manufacturers of such instruments.
Mostly Apple, with somewhat smoky reasons, however: “We are concerned that strict regulation requiring only one type of connector will stifle innovation rather than encourage it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.. We will engage with stakeholders to find a solution that protects consumer interests as well as the industry’s ability to innovate and bring exciting new technologies to users. We share the commitment to protect the environment.
We look forward to continuing engagement with stakeholders to help find a solution that protects consumer interests as well as the industry’s ability to innovate and bring exciting new technologies to the user. “
Some consumer associations are also skeptical. Luigi Gabriele, president of Consumerismo, for example, had spoken of an only apparent advantage, “because mobile phone manufacturers could make up for the lower earnings deriving from the EU decision by increasing the retail prices of their products and thus recouping them from consumers..
Not surprisingly, the first company to take action against the universal charger was Apple, with a study according to which the measure would result in an increase in costs for consumers estimated at 1.5 billion euros “.