MPs vote to end summer time clock changes
The European Parliament has backed a proposal to stop the obligatory one-hour clock change which extends daylight hours in summer EU-wide.
The proposal is to choose either permanent summer time or winter time and stop the twice-yearly clock change from 2021
Under an EU directive, all 28 states currently switch to summer time on the last Sunday of March and back to winter time on the last Sunday of October.
The European Commission – in charge of drafting EU legislation – made the proposal last year, after a public consultation which showed 84% of respondents wanting to scrap the biannual clock changes. There were 4.6 million replies in that consultation, 70% of which were from Germans.
But MEPs and the Commission stress that states must co-ordinate their choices, to minimise the risk of economic disruption from a patchwork of different time systems.
What are the pros and cons of summer time?
Daylight saving time (DST) – so-called summer time – has been compulsory in the EU since 2001, aimed at making the EU internal market work more smoothly and reducing energy costs.
Fewer time differences, it was argued, would facilitate cross-border trade and travel in the EU. The extra daylight hours in summer could reduce spending on artificial lighting and help outdoor leisure activities.
But the energy savings from DST have proven to be quite marginal. And some of the EU’s major trading partners – among them China, Russia and Turkey – do not operate under DST.
The consultation and scientific studies suggested that the clock changes were having negative effects on people’s health.
Under the new legislation, governments opting to make summer time permanent would adjust their clocks for the last time on the last Sunday in March 2021.
For those choosing permanent standard time – also called winter time – the final clock change would be on the last Sunday of October 2021.
Opposition to the clock changes tends to be greater in northern countries, where seasonal differences in daylight hours are greater than in the south.
What do you think – should we stay the same or make a change?