Common Charger for all mobile phones: vote in the European Parliament
On 13 March 2014, MEP’s in Strasbourg voted for a directive which will impose a universal charger for mobile phones within three years. The directive will replace the voluntary agreement with mobile phone manufacturers which expired at the end of 2012.
Shortly before the vote, I spoke to rapporteur Barbara Weiler about the benefits of a universal charger, what the vote will mean for consumers and the case of the Apple connector.
If you were to start counting out loud ‘One, two, three, four, five….’, it would take more than 31 thousand years to count to one trillion. This is the number of euros lost due to tax evasion and avoidance each year in the European Union.
I spoke to the Finnish MEP Satu Hassi about the social consequences of this non-payment of taxes.
According to a World Health Organisation report from 2013, residents of the 35 European countries consume the most alcohol per head in the world.
The harmful use of alcohol is responsible for about 120,000 premature deaths per year in the European Union. It is also responsible for economic costs estimated to amount to 125 billion euros in the EU.
I spoke to Dr Romana Jordan the Slovenian MEP who co-sponsored the Resolution on the European Strategy on Alcohol about the policies and plans within the European Union.
It is a rare event at a press conference that a speaker is applauded, as the former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstaadt pointed out. The applause was for Ruslana Lyzhychko, winner of the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
Ruslana Lyzhychko Eurovision Song Contest winner 2004 speaks at European Parliament Press Conference In Strasbourg 25/02/2014 Photo Graham Waghorn
Ruslana was witness to the events of the previous weeks in Maidan Square in Kiev. She was meters away from exploding grenades. She said, in Ukraine many people cry because so many died and that they should not have died for nothing. They fought to get a new system, they wanted their money not to be stolen, they fought for European integration.
Milos Zeman, the President of the Czech Republic made a speech to the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg on 26th February.
He positioned himself as ‘a strong supporter of the euro’ and said that the Czech Republic should adopt the euro as soon as possible. In a press conference after the speech, he said this could be achieved in a period of between 2 to 5 years.
Milos Zeman, President of the Czech Republic
Photo Graham Waghorn
President Zeman spoke in favour of the harmonisation of social and environmental issues and taxation across Europe which he said was opposed by some business groups. Whilst speaking of common European rules, he referred to Henry Kissinger’s supposed remark ‘What is the phone number of Europe?’ He also emphasized the importance of tackling the high unemployment rate in Europe.
A Joint press conference took place on 25th February with Martin Schulz, European Parliament President, Antonis Samaras, Greek Prime Minister, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and Mario Monti, the former Italian Prime Minister.
The objective was to set up a high-level group to study new and simpler ways to finance the European Union budget. Mario Monti accepted to be the chairman of the group. The Commissions proposals include a financial transaction tax and the simplification of the politically sensitive issue of rebate mechanisms for Member States.
Mario Monti, Antonis Samaras, Martin Schulz, José Manuel Barroso Photo: Graham Waghorn
Photo G. Waghorn
The Universal Mobile Charger
- Did you ever have a problem finding a mobile charger when your phone was flat ?
- None of your work colleagues had a compatible charger ?
- Have you got a drawer full of old chargers that are completely useless ?
If you’ve bought a new mobile since 2011, you’ve probably noticed that you can use the charger with almost any other mobile phone.
The new micro-USB plug was the result of the European Commission persuading fourteen of the leading phone manufacturers to standardize the mobile phone connectors in all 27 European Union Member states. The new plug now means that the telephone can be connected to and charged from any computer or other USB device.