Common charger for mobile radio equipment

Letter to the Commission
Marietje

Brussels, 5 October 2018


TO: Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska
CC: Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President Andrus Ansip, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner Karmenu Vella

RE: Common charger for mobile radio equipment

Dear Commissioner,

We, the undersigned Members, address you in regard to an issue that is very important for European citizens. It’s about the need for a common charger for mobile equipment in the European Union. For many citizens European Union means concrete solutions that facilitate their lives. It’s not only freedom of movement, common currency and Erasmus. It is also such symbolic things as travelling without roaming charges or geoblocking. The Common charger could become one of those symbols but also an example of how European standards are exported worldwide.

During the last 10 years, Members of the European Parliament have been advocating for a common charger for European citizens. We have discussed this issue thoroughly. The benefits of the common changer are clear. And it comes not only to the mere facilitation or convenience for consumers but also, and very importantly, to the circular economy considerations. The study commissioned by the Commission a few years ago highlighted the possible improvements in waste reduction and resource efficiency if the common charger would become a reality. This could be achieved by reducing the necessity to purchase different types of chargers and by giving the possibility to reuse already owned ones.

Through those years we have put a lot of hope in voluntary agreements between different industry players. We also acknowledge the Commission’s efforts in this matter since 2009. Unfortunately, with the latest Memorandum of Understanding, it became clear to us that this process will not bring concrete results for EU citizens. Regretfully, the Memorandum of Understanding neither has a scope that extends beyond smartphones, nor solves the fragmentation in that sector, showing the limitations of voluntary approaches, where vetoes of strong market players influence the outcome and lead to an unsatisfactory approach also in terms of environmental policy objectives.

Many of us worked in the previous mandate of the European Parliament on the DIRECTIVE 2014/53/EU on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of radio equipment. The adopted text stated clearly that “A renewed effort to develop a common charger for particular categories or classes of radio equipment is necessary, in particular for the benefit of consumers and other end-users;“ and that “mobile phones that are made available on the market should be compatible with a common charger.”

As voluntary agreements didn’t bring results, it is high time to act decisively. Based on this directive’s article 44, the Commission has the power to adopt delegated acts to define the categories or classes that shall be constructed so they interwork with accessories, in particular with common chargers. This power is conferred on the Commission until June 2019.

Therefore, we urge you Commissioner, to take a decisive action in the direction of adopting a delegated act on this matter by the College still before the abovementioned deadline. The common charger for mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers, smart cameras, wearable electronics and most of the medium-small electronics can become a reality. European citizens wait for it.

We can assure you that as Members of the European Parliament we will support policy decisions which help EU institutions to deliver on this promise.

Yours sincerely,

Róża THUN, EPP Chair of IMCO WG on Digital Single Market
Evelyne GEBHARDT, S&D EP Vice President
Andreas SCHWAB, EPP IMCO Coordinator
Nicola DANTI, S&D IMCO Coordinator
Peter LIESE, EPP ENVI Coordinator
Julia REDA, Greens/EFA IMCO Coordinator
Anna Maria CORAZZA BILDT, EPP IMCO Vice-Chair
Benedek JÁVOR, Greens/EFA ENVI Vice-Chair
Pascal ARIMONT, EPP REGI Vice-Chair
Lambert van NISTELROOIJ, EPP REGI Coordinator
Marietje SCHAAKE, ALDE INTA Coordinator
Roberta METSOLA, EPP LIBE Coordinator
Wim VAN DE CAMP, EPP TRAN Coordinator
Sabine VERHEYEN, EPP CULT Coordinator
Michał BONI, EPP
Carlos COELHO, EPP
Lara COMI, EPP
Herbert DORFMANN , EPP
Christophe HANSEN, EPP
Othmar KARAS, EPP
Eva MAYDELL, EPP
Angelika NIEBLER, EPP
Jiří POSPÍŠIL, EPP
Olga SEHNALOVÁ, S&D
Ivan ŠTEFANEC, EPP
Adam SZEJNFELD, EPP
Dariusz ROSATI, EPP
Paul RUBIG, EPP
Marc TARABELLA, S&D
Inese VAIDERE, EPP

You can find the response of the Commission from 20/11/2018 here.

The Commission is still looking for feedback until the 31st of January 2019 on this initiative. More info here.