The European Commission believes that USB-C should become the standard for charging devices.
A bill to that effect was introduced this week.
This article answers six questions about the proposal.
Why does Europe want this?
There are two main reasons why the Commission wants to ensure that there is a universal charger.
One is that electronic waste should be reduced if cables can be used for multiple devices.
Unused chargers generate an estimated 11,000 tons of electronic waste every year, the Commission says.
By producing fewer new chargers and therefore having to throw away less, the amount of waste will decrease by 1,000 tons per year, it is expected.
The other reason from the European Commission is that different cables lead to consumer inconvenience.
"European consumers have long been frustrated with the growing pile of incompatible chargers they have at home," said Margrethe Vestager of Competition.
Why does it take so long?
There has been talk for years about the arrival of a universal charger.
In 2009 this was already discussed in the European Commission.
The technological sector was allowed to decide for itself to come up with a solution.
"As a result, the number of types of chargers for mobile phones has fallen from thirty to three over the past ten years, but it has not led to a definitive solution," says the Commission.
"We have given the sector a lot of time to come up with its own solutions: the time is now right for legislative measures for a universal charger," says Vestager.
What happens to old chargers then?
Chargers that already meet the new requirements can be used.
But chargers that aren't should be recycled.
According to the Commission, users will be given sufficient time to adapt to the new standard.
Who is affected by this?
Many manufacturers already use USB-C to charge devices.
For example, the majority of new Android phones can already be charged with a USB-C cable.
It could be a problem for Apple.
The company already uses USB-C on some of its devices, such as on its MacBooks or iPads, but that's not the case with iPhones yet.
They work with a lightning cable.
Apple is therefore not happy with the bill.
While the company says it's "engaged with shareholders to find a solution that's best for consumers," Apple doesn't believe USB-C is that solution.
"We remain concerned that a strict commitment of one type of cable will slow rather than drive innovation," Apple told
"That will actually harm consumers."
What if there is a new USB standard?
The European Commission says that a universal charger does not have to stand in the way of innovation.
But companies will have to work together to improve the charger.
"Technological developments can be taken into account through a timely adaptation of the technical regulations or specific standards of the Radio Equipment Directive", the Commission reports.
"This can ensure that the technology used does not become obsolete."
Major developments are also expected in the field of wireless charging.
"To enable innovation in this area, the proposal does not contain any specific technical requirements for wireless charging."
When will USB-C become the standard?
The European Commission's bill has yet to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.
If they give their approval, there will be a transition period of 24 months.
This should be sufficient for the industry to adapt products before the directive becomes applicable.
The rule will probably only come into effect in 2024.Keywords: