Common Charger for Electronic Devices

Council and Parliament reach provisional political agreement

Multiple chargers piling up with every new device have long been a source of frustration to European consumers. However, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament have reached a provisional political agreement on a directive establishing a common charger, by autumn 2024.

Having a common charger will improve consumer convenience by harmonising charging interfaces and fast charging technology, while reducing electronic waste.

Mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacturer. Laptops will also have to be adapted to the requirements by 40 months after the entry into force.

The charging speed is also harmonised for devices that support fast charging, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.

Consumers are to be provided with clear information on the charging characteristics of new devices, making it easier for them to see whether their existing chargers are compatible. Buyers will also be able to choose whether they want to purchase new electronic equipment with or without a charging device.

The new obligations are expected to lead to more re-use of chargers and will help consumers save up to €250 million a year on unnecessary charger purchases. Disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to represent about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually.

By autumn of this year, the European Parliament and the Council will have to formally approve the agreement before it is published in the EU Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after publication and its provisions will start to apply after 24 months. The new rules would not apply to products placed on the market before the date of application.