Members of the European Parliament voted to go ahead with plans to introduce a common charger across the bloc earlier this week. This means that products like mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers sold in the EU would have to be charged via USB-C, regardless of device brand.

The vote meant the European Parliament was given a mandate to start negotiating with the EU Council and European Commission on a final text.

MEPs from all sides of the house welcomed the decision, with the Renew group’s MEP Róża Thun und Hohenstein saying she was “happy that we delivered this element, which will facilitate the life of consumers and reduce the amount of e-waste produced each year”.

“We also managed to extend the scope of the directive – we added for example laptops, e-readers and earbuds to the list of devices which will be equipped with USB-C port,” she added.

Renew Europe called this a “clear victory for European citizens as well as the environment”, pointing out that this will save substantial amounts of consumers’ money whilst preventing 1000 tonnes a year in unnecessary waste.

Renew Europe has long championed such an initiative and said it hoped to extend the scope of the Regulation to cover a wider range of products.

The Socialists and Democrats Group, on the other hand, said it considerably improved the European Commission’s legislative proposal through MEP Alex Agius Saliba’s work.  The MEP sought to improve information and labels for consumers and add provisions on wireless charging.

“I hope the member states will agree with our proposal to also include smart watches, wearable and health trackers, personal care devices and lightening equipment in the scope of the legislation, unless their size is too small and they cannot be adapted to be equipped with a USB-type C port,” Agius Saliba noted.

The Commission has now been asked to set the standards by December 2026, taking into account the most appropriate technical solutions and introduce interoperability between different wireless technologies. “We are completely aware of the speed of high-tech development and we ask the European Commission to evaluate all new elements every three years and propose any changes, should any be necessary,” Agius Saliba said.

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-media house initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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