Mobile phone chargers – well done, Brussels

30 June, 2009

It is reported that Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Apple, LG, NEC, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung and Texas Instruments have signed an agreement for EU-wide harmonisation of mobile phone chargers.  

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) submitted to the Commission , the industry has committed to provide charger compatibility on the basis of the Micro-USB connector.  The mobile industry said the number of chargers produced every year could be cut in half when the new agreement goes into effect – good news for everybody.

EU Vice-President Gunter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industrial policy, said: “I am also very pleased that this solution was found on the basis of self-regulation. As a result, the Commission does not consider it necessary to introduce legislation.”

Even though the MoU is not legally binding, this is  a good example of the EU taking a practical role in making life better for its citizens, in circumstances where central action is the most efficient way of proceeding.  If only that could be said about all of the directives and regulations that are issued from Brussels, many of which should really be decided at the national level, and many of which impose disproportionate regulatory burdens.

And here’s the real question: when will we see harmonisation of electrical sockets in the EU, so that we don’t have to carry a bunch of adaptors with us when we travel?!


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