Universal smartphone charger gets unanimous thumbs-up from Europe’s MEPs

Europe’s politicians are pushing for a universal smartphone charger standard to be introduced that will force all manufacturers supplying phones in the European Union to use one style of connector.

Related: Europe votes in favour of common mobile phone charger law

MEPs voted 550 to 12 in favour of the resolution that will mean that a common charger standard will be introduced in 2017 and it is being implemented to help consumers as well as reduce charger clutter and electronic waste.

"The modernised Radio Equipment Directive is an efficient tool to prevent interference between different radio equipment devices. I am especially pleased that we agreed on the introduction of a common charger. This serves the interests both of consumers and the environment. It will put an end to charger clutter and 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste annually", said rapporteur Barbara Weiler, MEP.

Europe’s Council of Minister still have to officially approve of the draft law although the body has already given its prior approval on the issue and it’s likely to be a mere formality in the process.

The design currently being favoured uses a microUSB connector and is one that is already present in a wide variety of smartphones that run on Google’s Android OS, with Apple’s lightning connector one of the only other varieties in existence.

Apple’s lightning connector was only implemented with the iPhone 5 and is smaller than the original 30-pin connector in order to allow more to be crammed into the iPhone’s shell. The lightning connector allows larger amounts of data to be transferred faster than microUSB cables and the firm is likely to fight the new regulations vehemently.

Related: Mobile phone industry back European calls for universal handset charger

Europe has been talking about changing to a common standard for smartphone chargers since 2010 and member states have two years to transpose the rules into national law with manufacturers given a further year to ensure compliance.