EU proposes end to daylight saving 

EU proposes end to daylight saving 


The EU plans to end daylight saving time after a consultation found millions of Europeans wanted the system to end.

The European Commission said it would encourage the European Parliament and member states to end twice-yearly changes. 

The plans could mean Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic would be on different time zones if Brexit happens. 

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said if that was what citizens wanted, “we will make it happen”. 

A consultation paper said one option would be to let each member state decide whether to go for permanent summer or winter time in “a sovereign decision of each member state”, said commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein.

He said the proposal would not cause particular difficulties in Ireland. “I don’t see the link between our quest which is undiminished, to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and our proposal, which will come in due course, to no longer constrain member states into changing clocks twice per year.

“One pertains to the internal market once adopted, the other initiative is to ensure the Good Friday Agreement and other safeguards remain in place.”

Transport commissioner Violeta Bulc said 84 per cent of the 4.6 million people consulted “do not want the clocks to change anymore”.

Participation among member states varied with 3.79 per cent of Germans contributed compared to 0.02 per cent of Britons and 0.04 per cent of Italians. 

Juncker said it would make no sense to disregard the wishes of Europeans.

MEPs and the European Council need to approve the changes and decide whether to opt for summer or winter time. 

Since 1996, the EU has used daylight saving in March and October, harmonised to meet transport and logistics concerns. 

The 1996 decision was based on the argument that it would reduce energy costs but the commission said the data on energy-saving was inconclusive.

There are three standard time zones in the EU. 

Some studies point to adverse health impacts from time changes.

Finland called for daylight saving to be abolished EU-wide after a petition gathered more than 70,000 signatures. 

There was also no reliable evidence that daylight saving reduced traffic accidents, the EU’s executive branch said. 

The UK adopted Daylight Saving Time in 1916, along with many other nations involved in the First World War, to conserve coal.

Current EU law states that all citizens move their clocks an hour forward on the last Sunday in March, and switch back to winter time on the final Sunday in October.


No more fiddling with numerous complex devices twice a year? Picture credit: Pexels

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