The European Commission (EC) proposed legislation to force smartphone manufacturers to adopt a common charger, rules which would require Apple to fall into line with its major rivals by adopting USB-C.

If adopted, the rules would cover smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld gaming consoles.

In addition to a requirement for devices to use USB-C the directive would impose a law standardising fast charging technology and give purchasers the option on whether to have a charger supplied with a new device.

The EC has been pushing use of a single charging port since 2009, when most manufacturers still used their own specific ports. Up to this point it has relied on pledges made by vendors which, the authority said, had reduced the number of alternatives from 30 to three.

In a statement EC EVP for a Europe fit for the Digital Age Margrethe Vestager added: “European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers.”

“We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger. This is an important win for our consumers and environment, and in line with our green and digital ambitions.”

Of the biggest-selling brands, Apple notably still uses its own charging system.

The EC’s common charger push is part of a drive to cut e-waste: it estimates disposed of and unused chargers estimated rack up 11,000 tonnes annually.

Its proposed rules have to be cleared by the European Parliament and European Council before becoming law.

If adopted manufacturers will have two years to comply.