European Parliament Backs Common Chargers for All Mobile Phones

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | March 13, 2014, Thursday // 16:44
Bulgaria: European Parliament Backs Common Chargers for All Mobile Phones Photo by EPA/BGNES

MEPs have backed the adoption of a common charger for all mobile phones sold in the EU in a bid to reduce waste, costs and hassle for users.

Thursday's vote in the EP concerns an update to EU radio equipment laws and is based on a proposal by the European Commission (IP/12/1109).

According to the press office of the European Parliament, the draft draft has already been informally agreed with the Council of Ministers.

The draft law was approved by 550 votes to 12, with 8 abstentions. It will still have to be formally approved by the Council. Member states will have two years to transpose the rules into their national laws and manufacturers will have an additional year to comply.

"The modernised Radio Equipment Directive is an efficient tool to prevent interference between different radio equipment devices. I am especially pleased that we agreed on the introduction of a common charger. This serves the interests both of consumers and the environment. It will put an end to charger clutter and 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste annually", said rapporteur Barbara Weiler (S&D, DE).

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "Today's vote sets the basis for further innovation and growth in the area of mobile communications. The sector continues to show enormous potential. Reliable and fast wireless communications are essential to the on-going revolution in manufacturing, services, education, entertainment and practically all spheres of life. And there is more: the new rules enable us to introduce a common charger for mobile phones and similar devices. This is very good news for our citizens and for the environment".

The draft directive lays down harmonised rules for placing radio equipment, including cellular telephones, car-door openers and modems, on the market. The rules aim to keep pace with the growing number and variety of radio equipment devices and ensure that they do not interfere with each other while respecting essential health and safety requirements.

MEPs called for a renewed effort to develop a common charger for certain categories of radio equipment, in particular mobile phones, because it would simplify their use and would reduce unnecessary waste and costs.

They amended the draft law to stipulate that the ability to work with common chargers will be an essential requirement for radio equipment. However, it will be up  to the European Commission to decide which specific types of radio equipment will have to meet this requirement, the text adds.

MEPs also backed provisions in the directive that would give the authorities additional market surveillance tools to detect radio equipment products that fail to comply with the new safety rules.

Using information provided by EU member states and after thorough evaluation, the European Commission will identify those categories of equipment which will need to be registered before they can be put on the market. A similar database already operates in the US.

The idea for the common charge originated with Solomon Passy, President of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, former Foreign Minister (2001-2005), and former Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2004, and his wife Gergana Passy, former Deputy Foreign Minister and Foreign EU Affairs Minister (2007-2009), back in the spring of 2008.

The Passy family started their initiative with a letter to then EU Commissioner for Industry Guenther Verheugen, who welcomed the idea.

In 2011, the European Commission unveiled the prototype of a common charger for all data enabled mobile phones to be sold in the European Union.

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Tags: Gunther Verheugen, Gergana Passy, Solomon Passy, European parliament, common charger, European Commission, Antonio Tajani
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