EU Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly in Favor of Charging Cable Standard, Despite Apple’s Protestations

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Despite criticism from Apple, EU lawmakers on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favor for new rules to establish a common charger for all mobile device makers across Europe (via Reuters).

Members of the European Parliament voted by 582-40 for a resolution urging the European Commission, which drafts EU laws, to ensure that EU consumers are no longer obliged to buy new chargers with each new device.

The resolution said voluntary agreements in the industry had significantly reduced the number of charger types, but had not resulted in one common standard.

The Commission should adopt new rules by July, the lawmakers’ resolution said, calling for “an urgent need for EU regulatory action to reduce electronic waste, empower consumers to make sustainable choices, and allow them to fully participate in an efficient and well-functioning internal market.”The proposed charging ports for portable devices include Micro-USB, USB-C, and the Lightning connector. Thursday’s resolution didn’t specify what the mobile charging standard should be, but non-Apple mobile devices and increasingly laptops and tablets are charged by USB-C, so the EU is highly unlikely to choose Apple’s Lightning connector.

Apple last week pushed back against proposals for binding measures to make smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices use a standardized charging port such as USB-C.

In a statement, Apple said that the industry was already moving to USB-C and that regulation to force conformity would stifle innovation, harming European consumers. Apple also claimed that such a move would “create an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconvenience users.”

The European Commission, which acts as the executive for the EU, has been pushing for a common charger for more than a decade. However, the latest resolution makes legislation more likely, with the EU executive having included the common charger standard as one of the set of actions it plans for this year.

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