The European Parliament adopted a motion calling for the introduction of a universal charger for smartphones. A measure that has been discussed for years but on which no concrete action has been taken.

The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution by 582 votes in favour and to 40 against, asking the European Commission to publish a report without further delay. The European Commission has at its disposal a report describing the effects of such a universal charger for the European market.

The idea of a universal charger dates back to 2009. The idea behind it is that it offers more convenience for the user because chargers are interchangeable. It is better for the environment because you don’t need a new charger with every device. In addition, the cost of a charger should decrease.

The reason this idea has been on the shelf for so long is that there’s a lot of resistance from Apple to the idea and the European Commission did not act on the previous motions. In 2014, the plan was almost completed, but the European Commission put it back on the shelf. Apple is the only manufacturer that has developed its own connection and charger (Lightning) and does not intend to say goodbye to that. Apple has repeatedly spoken against a universal charger.

Time and again the European Commission is the one blocking the introduction of the universal charger. Perhaps Apple is able to lobby very well in this respect.

The market has shown improvement since 2009, where there were dozens of different chargers at the time, there are now three different chargers; USB C, micro USB 2.0 and Lightning. Where USB C is more or less the successor of micro USB 2.0, that port is used less and less and was last year only applied to budget smartphones.

Tablets and laptops

For the time being, the European Parliament focuses on mobile devices, such as phones, but tablets may also be included in regulations for a universal charger if it would come to that. Laptops are being discussed by some members of Parliament, but for the time being there does not seem to be a majority for a universal laptop charger. Although we do see that the market is moving towards USB C as a primary or secondary charge possibility.