Europe has taken its first steps towards enforcing a single, universal mobile phone charger. A provisional deal was struck by members of the European Parliament and the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of Ministers earlier today, which would force manufacturers to make all of their devices compatible with a common charging solution.

The details will need to be agreed upon by EU member states in a vote expected to take place next March. If it’s passed successfully, the government of each respective country will have two years to bring the new rules into their national law. Subsequently, companies such as Apple or Samsung would then have a year to comply with the changes.

“I am especially pleased that we agreed on the introduction of a common charger – although the Council and the Commission were hesitant at first. This will benefit the consumers,” Parliament Member Barbara Weiler said.

While this is only a first step, it’s certainly a positive one. Mobile phone chargers have been a problem for years, as companies insist on using their own ports and solutions for their respective devices. I’ve lost track of the number of times someone has asked me for a niche charger that would fit an older handset.

Furthermore, replacing these chargers can often be very expensive, with unfair or inflated prices for official solutions. If a common charger was enforced, customers would theoretically be able to pick up third-party alternatives, promoting competition and ultimately driving down prices.

➤ Common charger for all mobile phones on the way [Via Reuters]

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