MEPs and the Council of Europe agreed last month (December) that mobile phone manufacturers will be obliged to provide a common battery charger throughout Europe as part of a provisional deal on radio equipment.
The draft directive is aimed at harmonising radio products, including phones, car door openers and modems, in order to ensure they do not interfere with one another.
The MEPs said they are keen not only to simplify the use of radio equipment with a common charger, but also to reduce unnecessary waste and cost for consumers.
Provided that the outline agreement gets endorsement from the European Parliament and EU member states, it would be implemented in around 2017.
At the same time, EU lawmakers also agreed on tougher market supervision and to ensure that products have to be registered.
Currently, smartphone makers are free to use whatever type of battery charger they like, although most manufacturers now use the microUSB standard for both data transfer and charging the battery of their devices.
The ruling will mean that Apple, which is notoriously keen to use proprietary cables and ports, will have to comply if it is to sell in Europe, although it has been suggested that the manufacturer could try to counter the development by making its proprietary “Lightning” connector to a universal standard.
The draft legislation could be voted on by the EU parliament as soon as March this year and, if it passes this stage, each member country will be given two years to transpose the legislation into national law, with manufacturers like Apple and Samsung given a further year to implement the changes
Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London
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