To the chagrin of Apple, which fiercely opposed it, the 27 countries of the European Union (EU) and MEPs agreed on Tuesday June 7 to impose a universal wired charger for smartphones in the Union. , tablets, consoles and digital cameras within two and a half years.

“Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different charging device and cable each time they purchase a new device, and will be able to use a single charger for all of their portable electronic devices from small and medium sizes,” the European Parliament explained in a statement.

By fall 2024, mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, headphones and headsets, digital cameras, portable video game consoles and portable speakers, if rechargeable with a wired cable, “must be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of manufacturer,” he says.

Laptops will be subject to the same single charger requirement “within forty months of the entry into force of the text”, i.e. by 2026 (the text to be published in the Official Journal of the EU after summer, after formal approval by the Council and the European Parliament).

The regulations also provide for the charging speed to be harmonized for devices authorizing fast charging, to prevent it from being restricted when used with a device of a different brand.

Save at least 250 million euros annually

By making it possible to decouple the sale of electronic devices and chargers, the text could save European consumers – who spend around 2.4 billion euros a year on purchases of chargers alone – at least 250 million euros annually, according to the European Commission. From the same source, the waste of unused magazines, estimated at 11,000 tonnes per year, could be reduced by almost 1,000 tonnes.

This project had been launched as early as 2009 by the Commission, but had so far come up against strong reluctance from the industry, although the number of types of existing chargers had been greatly reduced over the years.

From around 30 in 2009, they have gone to three: the Micro USB connector, which has long been fitted to the majority of phones, USB-C, a more recent connection, and Lightning, used by Apple. The Californian group, which claims that its Lightning charging technology equips more than a billion devices worldwide, had expressed its fierce opposition to the European text, believing that it would “stifle innovation”.

Consumer associations, while welcoming the EU project, had for their part regretted that it did not concern wireless charging systems, which are in full swing.