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EUROPEAN UNION

More Swedes think EU is good for Sweden: Poll

Swedes are significantly more positive about the EU than the average citizen of the union, with the Swedish belief that the EU is good for their country almost ten percent higher than agreement with that sentiment across the union in general, according to a new study.

More Swedes think EU is good for Sweden: Poll
The European Parliament in Strasbourg. Photo: Jean-Francois Badias/AP

The latest edition of the European Parliament’s Parlemeter poll showed that only 53 percent of EU citizens polled think the EU is a good thing for their country, a decrease of two percent from the previous edition of the study in 2015.

In Sweden, things are different however: in this year’s study, 64 percent of Swedes said that the EU is good for Sweden, a five percent increase since 2015.

62 percent of Swedes said that their country had benefited from being a member of the EU meanwhile, a four percent increase since 2015. The EU average for the same question is 60 percent, unchanged from the previous year.

The most common reason why Swedes think their country benefits from the EU is “membership improves co-operation between Sweden and the other countries of the EU” (53 percent), which on average only 29 percent of respondents across the 28 EU nations agreed with in regards to their country.

It isn’t all positive however: 55 percent of Swedish respondents said that things are going in the wrong direction in the EU – one percent higher than the EU average of 54 percent.

The 2016 Parlemeter was carried out between September 24th and October 3rd, several months after the United Kingdom’s June 23rd referendum vote to leave the EU.

In July, a survey carried out by pollsters Novus for Swedish TV4 suggested that the Brexit vote had strengthened Swedish positivity on the EU, with 63 percent of Swedes saying they would vote to remain in the union if a referendum was held, up from 58 percent saying they would do so in a previous Novus study conducted before the British vote.

A Sweden-based political scientist specializing in EU politics told The Local at the time that Britain’s vote to leave the EU had urged Swedes to think in more detail about Europe.

“The average Swedish person doesn’t think or care much about the EU, but Brexit brings it to the fore. The UK referendum made a complicated issue real, and people in Sweden are suddenly forced to think about what the EU is rather than just having a vague opinion on it,” Ian Manners noted.

TECH

‘A great day for consumers in Europe’: EU votes for single smartphone charger

The EU parliament on Tuesday passed a new law requiring USB-C to be the single charger standard for all new smartphones, tablets and cameras from late 2024 in a move that was heralded a "great day for consumers".

'A great day for consumers in Europe': EU votes for single smartphone charger

The measure, which EU lawmakers adopted with a vote 602 in favour, 13 against, will – in Europe at least – push Apple to drop its outdated Lightning port on its iPhones for the USB-C one already used by many of its competitors.

Makers of laptops will have extra time, from early 2026, to also follow suit.

EU policymakers say the single charger rule will simplify the life of Europeans, reduce the mountain of obsolete chargers and reduce costs for consumers.

It is expected to save at least 200 million euros ($195 million) per year and cut more than a thousand tonnes of EU electronic waste every year, the bloc’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager said.

The EU move is expected to ripple around the world.

The European Union’s 27 countries are home to 450 million people who count among the world’s wealthiest consumers. Regulatory changes in the bloc often set global industry norms in what is known as the Brussels Effect.

“Today is a great day for consumers, a great day  for our environment,” Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba, the European Parliament’s pointman on the issue, said.

“After more than a decade; the single charger for multiple electronic devices will finally become a reality for Europe and hopefully we can also inspire the rest of the world,” he said.

Faster data speed

Apple, the world’s second-biggest seller of smartphones after Samsung, already uses USB-C charging ports on its iPads and laptops.

But it resisted EU legislation to force a change away from its Lightning ports on its iPhones, saying that was disproportionate and would stifle innovation.

However some users of its latest flagship iPhone models — which can capture extremely high-resolution photos and videos in massive data files — complain that the Lightning cable transfers data at only a bare fraction of the speed USB-C does.

The EU law will in two years’ time apply to all handheld mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, portable speakers, handheld videogame consoles, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, mice and portable navigation systems.

People buying a device will have the choice of getting one with or without a USB-C charger, to take advantage of the fact they might already have at least one cable at home.

Makers of electronic consumer items in Europe agreed a single charging norm from dozens on the market a decade ago under a voluntary agreement with the European Commission.

But Apple refused to abide by it, and other manufacturers kept their alternative cables going, meaning there are still some six types knocking  around.

They include old-style USB-A, mini-USB and USB-micro, creating a jumble of cables for consumers.

USB-C ports can charge at up to 100 Watts, transfer data up to 40 gigabits per second, and can serve to hook up to external displays.

Apple also offers wireless charging for its latest iPhones — and there is speculation it might do away with charging ports for cables entirely in future models.

But currently the wireless charging option offers lower power and data transfer speeds than USB-C.

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