Finally a common charger in the EU

BRUSSELS (HINA) – On Monday, the EU Council gave its final approval for the mandatory introduction of a single charger for cellphones and other electronic devices from 2024.

“It will no longer be necessary to buy a charger every time you buy a new mobile phone or similar device. A charger that is compatible with multiple devices will save money and time and contribute to reducing electronic waste,” said Jozef Síkela, Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, whose country currently holds the EU Council presidency.

The Common Charger Directive introduces USB-C as the standard charging slot for electronic devices in the European Union. From 2024, all devices such as mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, digital cameras, video game consoles and headsets will need to have a USB-C slot, which means that everyone will be able to charge their devices with the same charger.

In order for consumers to know exactly what they are buying, the directive introduces a pictogram indicating whether a charger is offered with the new device and a label indicating the efficiency of charging.

The directive should be published in the Official Journal of the European Union these days and enter into force 20 days after that publication. The new rules will begin to apply 24 months after their entry into force.

In addition, 40 months after the entry into force of the directive, these new rules will apply to all laptops, which can then also be charged with a common charger. (October 24)

Europe is barely making progress on gender equality

Brussels (Belga) – European gender equality progresses at a snail’s pace, according to the recently published 2022 Gender Equality Index. Despite policy measures, the index has increased by only 0.6 percent since last year. Belgium does score above average.

Currently, the average score is 68.6 out of 100, only 5.5 points higher than in 2010. Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands perform best, although progress on gender equality has stagnated in Sweden and Denmark. In Greece, Hungary and Romania, progress is the most difficult. Together with Lithuania, Croatia and the Netherlands, Belgium records one of the largest increases.

The index is mainly based on data from 2020, the first pandemic year. In response, European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli emphasized that women should not lose significance in times of uncertainty and unrest.

“We need to continue our efforts for gender equality. In the wake of the pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting economic crisis, both regional institutions and EU countries must consider gender equality in their fiscal and policy measures,”

Helena Dalli.

“The most worrying thing is that this year’s score has declined in several areas for the first time since 2010,” said Carlien Scheele, director of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). Overall, the employment rate score declined. Furthermore, fewer women than men participated in formal and informal education activities in 2020, and while Covid-19 caused unprecedented pressure on the health sector, gender equality in health status and access to health care declined. Young women and women with a migrant background were hardest hit by unemployment. (October 24)

Von der Leyen starts Balkan tour on Wednesday in Skopje

Brussels (MIA) – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will visit the Western Balkans from Wednesday. Von der Leyen’s main message is the EU’s commitment to the European integration of the region.

Of course, this visit takes place in the special context of successive crises, first Covid-19 and now the war in Ukraine and its aftermath, EU spokesperson Eric Mamer said.

The aid is expected to come in the form of the involvement of the Western Balkan countries in the EU energy platform. The message is that the EU shows solidarity with the Western Balkans region, engages through programs that aim to encourage investment and shows the will to continue to cooperate, the spokesperson said. (October 24)

Meloni swears, “immediately at work to serve Italy, ready to collaborate with the EU”

Rome (ANSA) – The leader of the far-right Fratelli d’Italia (FdI) Giorgia Melonihas sworn her oath of office to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, becoming the first woman to be Prime Minister of Italy. Meloni took over the leadership of the government from Mario Draghi, after her party won last month’s elections with 26% of the vote. “Here is the government team that, with pride and a sense of responsibility, will serve Italy. Now straight to work,” tweeted Prime Minister Meloni, just after leaving the presidential palace Quirinale, where her government was sworn in.

The first international contacts followed soon, with phone calls to Ursula von der Leyen and the top of the European institutions, whom Meloni assured that the new center-right government is “ready to collaborate.” The outcome of the European Council, the energy crisis, the war in Ukraine, the implementation of the national resilience plan and cohesion policies as well as an upcoming trip to Brussels – these were the topics at the center of today’s telephone conversations between Meloni and the heads of the EU institutions.

“We absolutely need to work for a rapid intervention to reduce energy prices for families and businesses,” Meloni said. The energy dossier is on top of the list of concerns of the new government. On social media, Meloni thanked all the foreign leaders who congratulated her to the new position, including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki. She reiterated to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Italy will “always” be on the side of Ukraine, and told US President Joe Biden that she can’t wait to strengthen the “friendship and transatlantic partnership, based on common values.”

In the evening, the premier met French president Emmanuel Macron. During their meeting, albeit an informal one, all of the main European dossiers were discussed: the need to give quick and joint answers to high energy costs, support for Ukraine, the difficult economic situation and the management of migratory flows. (October 22)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Wednesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.