Many people are not aware that the idea to produce a common USB phone charger belongs to Solomon Passy, President of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, and his wife Gergana Passy, President of PanEuropa Bulgaria. This is because media across the EU reporting the standardization of the charger omit to mention this fact.
“We are very proud – Gergana and I – that this idea, which started as a joke – turned into a very solid Bulgarian contribution to the European technological process. Our battle for this initiative started in Bulgaria, went through the European Commission, the world GSM organization, the World Telecommunications Union of the UN, and ended with the European Commission’s decision to introduce the common chargers, starting in 2011. I am glad that a Bulgarian engineer and inventor – Ivan Batsarov – approached me and Gergana with the idea to patent elements of this common mobile phone charger, which is what we did, and the patent is Bulgarian,” Solomon Passy told the 24 Chasa Daily in an interview in 2010.
In May 2008, the Atlantic Digital Network (ADN) – the NGO cluster of The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, sent an open letter to EC Vice-President Gunter Verheugen, regarding the standardisation of all chargers for mobile phones. The process to create common chargers began in June 2009, when the European Commission won pledges from phone firms to back any standards it drew up. Following backing from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in October 2009, in December 2009, the European Commission handed down a mandate requiring the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to deliver common charger standards. In 2010, CENELEC and ETSI released charger standards for data-enable mobile phones, or phones that can be connected to a computer. On 13 March 2014, the European Parliament voted on a directive, according to which all mobile phones on the European market have to use a standard charger. The directive passed with 550 votes in favour, with 12 against and 8 abstentions. Following formal approval by the European Council, EU Member States were given two years to import the rules into national laws, with the manufacturers then having a further year to comply.
Solomon Passy has pointed out that the introduction of the universal chargers in the EU would save about 13 million metric tons of carbon emissions and about 16-17 million metric tons of electronic waste per year.
“This is a colossal contribution on part of Bulgaria for protection of the global environment. Bulgaria has demonstrated that a small country, an EU newcomer can change established EU practices in a positive direction. The Bulgarian victory with the initiative for a common mobile phone charger has shown that our country has dozens of fields in which it can share its know-how such as standardized batteries for mobile phones, computers, laptops, all the way to standardized remote controls of audio and TV equipment,” Passy states.