Strasbourg comment: Radio equipment

Barbara Weiler says MEPs' decision to introduce a universal charger for certain types of radio equipment will lower electronic waste and benefit the consumer.

By Barbara Weiler

14 Mar 2014

A cross-party majority on 13 March 2014 in the European parliament has supported a proposal to introduce a universal charger for categories of radio equipment, such as mobile phones, tablets and other electronic devices. This was voted on in the context of the modernisation of the radio equipment directive.

The agreement on a common charger is great news for European consumers and the environment. This law puts an end to charger clutter and helps to reduce the giant pile of electronic waste in the EU.

However, the radio equipment directive is more than that. It is made up of numerous small sections with something for everyone: consumers, market surveillance authorities and businesses - especially SMEs.

The law lays down harmonised rules for placing radio equipment on the market. The updated rules aim to keep pace with the growing number and variety of radio equipment devices and to ensure that they do not interfere with each other. Parents, for instance, need to be able to rely on the flawless functioning of baby phones.

MEPs agreed that there should be additional means for market surveillance in order to track and monitor products which fail to comply with the new rules. At the same time they cut some red tape, by ensuring that small firms will not face a heavier administrative burden.

Member states will have two years to transpose the rules into their national law and manufacturers will have an additional year to comply.

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