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Thursday, 30 January 2020 - Brussels
Common charger for mobile radio equipment

European Parliament resolution of 30 January 2020 on a common charger for mobile radio equipment (2019/2983(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Directive 2014/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of radio equipment and repealing Directive 1999/5/EC(1),

–  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding regarding harmonisation of a charging capability for mobile phones of 5 June 2009,

–  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding on the future common charging solution for smartphones of 20 March 2018,

–  having regard to the Commission report of 11 November 2018 on the operation of the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (COM(2018)0740),

–  having regard to Rule 132(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the single market has been, and remains, the basis for Europe’s economic success, the cornerstone of European integration and an engine of growth and jobs;

B.  whereas the single market is not exploiting its full potential, and continuing fragmentation of the market for chargers for mobile phones and other small and medium-sized electronic devices translates into an increase in e-waste and consumer frustration;

C.  whereas consumers are still having to acquire different chargers when buying new devices from different sellers, and are obliged to buy a new charger when purchasing a new device from the same seller;

D.  whereas for more than 10 years Members of the European Parliament have been demanding a common charger for mobile radio equipment, including mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers, smart cameras, wearable electronics and other small or medium-sized electronic devices; whereas the Commission has repeatedly postponed the delegated act supplementing Directive 2014/53/EU on radio equipment;

E.  whereas the timely implementation of adopted EU legislation through concrete legislative steps is essential to the European Union’s credibility in the eyes of its citizens and on the international stage;

F.  whereas voluntary agreements between industry players, although significantly decreasing the number of charger types available on the market, have proved unsuccessful in terms of achieving a common charging solution, and consumers are still confronted with different types of chargers across the market;

G.  whereas around 50 million metric tons of e-waste is generated globally per year, with an average of more than 6 kg per person; whereas total e-waste generation in Europe in 2016 was 12,3 million metric tonnes, equivalent to 16,6 kg on average per inhabitant(2); whereas this represents an unnecessary environmental footprint that can be reduced;

H.  whereas within the framework of the European Green Deal, Parliament called for an ambitious new circular economy action plan aiming to reduce the total environmental and resource footprint of EU production and consumption, with resource efficiency, zero pollution and waste prevention as key priorities;

I.  whereas consumer trends in the past 10 years show growing multi-device ownership and short lifecycles for some radio equipment, e.g. smartphones; whereas older equipment is often replaced because it is seen as outdated; whereas, furthermore, these trends lead to the production of additional e-waste, including chargers;

J.  whereas consumers own, use and often carry with them many different chargers for similar battery-operated devices; whereas the present oversupply of chargers therefore causes excessive costs and inconvenience to consumers and an unnecessary environmental footprint;

K.  whereas people now rely on their mobile devices in numerous daily situations, especially in the event of an emergency or when travelling, which is also due to the lack of public telephones; whereas people rely on an easily chargeable mobile phone to quickly access essential services and vital tools such as means of payment, search engines, navigation devices, etc.; whereas mobile devices are an essential tool for full participation in society;

1.  Strongly stresses that there is 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;

2.  Calls on the Commission to present and publish without further delay the results of the impact assessment on the introduction of a common charger for mobile telephones and other compatible devices with a view to proposing mandatory provisions;

3.  Emphasises the need for a standard for a common charger for mobile radio equipment to be adopted as a matter of urgency in order to avoid further internal market fragmentation;

4.  Calls, therefore, on the Commission to take action to introduce the common charger without any further delay by adopting the delegated act supplementing Directive 2014/53/EU on radio equipment defining a standard for a common charger for mobile phones and other small and medium-sized radio equipment by July 2020, or, if necessary, by adopting a legislative measure by July 2020 at the latest;

5.  Points out that the Commission, without hampering innovation, should ensure that the legislative framework for a common charger will be scrutinised regularly in order to take into account technical progress; reiterates the importance of research and innovation in this domain to improve existing technologies and come up with new ones;

6.  Points out that the use of wireless charging technology entails additional potential benefits such as mitigating e-waste; highlights that many mobile telephones already use wireless charging methods and that fragmentation in this area should be avoided; calls, therefore, on the Commission to take measures to best ensure the interoperability of different wireless chargers with different mobile radio equipment;

7.  Recalls that in line with the Standardisation Regulation(3), European standardisation organisations must facilitate the participation of relevant stakeholders, which include, in this context, SME organisations, environmental organisations, people with disabilities, the elderly and consumers;

8.  Believes that the Commission should consider legislative initiatives to increase the volume of cables and chargers collected and recycled in the Member States;

9.  Urges the Commission to ensure that consumers are no longer obliged to buy new chargers with each new device, thereby reducing the volume of chargers produced per year; considers that decoupling strategies would allow for greater environmental benefits; stresses meanwhile that any measure aiming at decoupling should avoid potentially higher prices for consumers; underlines, furthermore, that decoupling strategies should be introduced with a common charger solution, as otherwise the aims of the directive would not be achieved;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 153, 22.5.2014, p. 62.
(2) The Global E-waste Monitor 2017
(3) Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on European standardisation, amending Council Directives 89/686/EEC and 93/15/EEC and Directives 94/9/EC, 94/25/EC, 95/16/EC, 97/23/EC, 98/34/EC, 2004/22/EC, 2007/23/EC, 2009/23/EC and 2009/105/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Decision 87/95/EEC and Decision No 1673/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 316, 14.11.2012, p. 12).

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