March 25, 2009 / 5:02 PM / in 10 years

EU mobile phone makers face deadline over chargers

BRUSSELS, March 25 (Reuters) - Mobile phone makers have until the end of April to agree on standardising chargers or face legislation to prevent consumers having to replace chargers when they change phones, the European Union’s executive body said on Wednesday. “We are speaking with the industry about a voluntary industry agreement which we think is the quickest solution,” a spokesman for EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said.

“If industry is not ready by the end of April he (Verheugen) will propose legislation. We are concentrating first of all on mobile chargers,” the spokesman said.

The European Parliament’s Liberal bloc said consumers should not be obliged to replace chargers which still work when they buy a different model.

There are over 30 kinds of charger on the European market. The GSM Association, an industry lobby, is moving towards adopting a small USB charger as the standard in the EU, the Liberal party said in a statement.

“This decision has to come into effect quickly to avoid further harm for the consumer and for the wellbeing of the environment. The issue concerns cell phones but also photo cameras, laptops, iPod and MP3 players,” it said. (Reporting by Huw Jones)

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