April 26, 2023

The EU Common Charger: a new reality that will save us Millions. 

On Tuesday, April 25, EU40 – the Network of Young MEPs, and MEP Alex Agius Saliba, hosted an event titled: “The EU Common Charger: a new reality that will save us Millions”.  The debate aimed at overviewing the negotiations and the legislative path behind the implementation of the EU Common Charger directive, approved in October 2022. The in-person discussion took place in the European Parliament, gathering together policymakers, consumers and industry representatives to create a lively conversation on how the common charger solution can benefit everyone – from unsatisfied consumers to our planet.

Guest panelists included MEP Saliba, Chiara Giovannini- Deputy Director-General of ANEC, Cinzia Missiroli – Director for Standardization and Digital Solutions at CEN and CENELEC, Alberto Ruiz Rodríguez Industry and Tourism Advisor from the Permanent Representation of Spain in the EU and Mr Alexis Basiaux – European Commission DG GROW.

In his introductory remarks, MEP Saliba gave an overview of the process that led to the solution that combines consumers’ protection while guaranteeing technological innovation and environmental sustainability. Our MEP stressed how the discussion with the Commission and the negotiations with private companies lasted more than 10 years, however, the results we had today are exceptional: the agreement led to going from 33 charging solutions to just 3. From an environmental point of view, the legislation will greatly benefit our planet: every year, in Europe, chargers produce more than 11,000 tons of e-waste. From a consumer’s point of view, finally, they will get to choose between a bundle and unbundle charging solutions, enabling them to make a sustainable choice.

The conversation continued with the Commission’s perspective. Mr Basiaux from DG GROW examined the work done by the Commission, starting from the Memorandum of Understanding of 2009, to arrive then to 2018, when the proper works began. He stated how the obtained results were ambitious as the targeted devices were not limited to mobile phones. Moreover, the Commission is working also to preserve technology and innovation, by creating a future standard for wireless solutions. As Basiaux remarked: “Some challenges are ahead, but thanks to this proposal the Commission has tools to act. In the future, when the technology is mature enough, we might come to wireless charging.”

Cinzia Missiroli, Director for Standardization and Digital Solutions at CEN and CENELEC stressed the importance of allowing industries to use the latest solutions that are available on the market: “There is no obligation to follow standards until there is European legislation. We make sure that standards represent the state of the art and evolve accordingly with technology.” 

Chiara Giovannini, Deputy Director-General, Senior Manager Policy & Innovation from ANEC, shared how her Organisation proudly welcomed the legislation. There will be a cultural change in terms of consumers’ consumption habits that is necessary to happen, so they can do what is more sustainable and convenient for them. According to Giovannini, this is possible by reversing the trend and giving consumers the option to go for the unbundle solution.

Finally, Alberto Ruiz Rodríguez, Industry and Tourism Advisor from the Permanent Representation of Spain in the EU, remarked that the Common Charger was one of the pieces of legislation which was highly awaited and wanted. The Council focused on two main points: the acceptance of the legislation (as it allows updates and is future-proof) and consumer protection. 

In conclusion, MEP Saliba reminded the audience that despite the difficulties in explaining in detail a technical topic such as charging devices, European citizens will have tangible proof of how this piece of legislation will improve their life. 

Watch the full discussion here.