In Depth

EU backs ending daylight saving time across the continent

Move follows poll finding that more than 80% of Europeans are against changing clocks

The European Commision is proposing to end the practice of adjusting clocks by an hour in spring and autumn after a survey found most Europeans opposed it.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the commission’s president, said that a recent consultation had shown that more than 80 per cent of EU citizens were in favour of the move.

“We carried out a survey, millions responded and believe that in future, summer time should be year-round, and that’s what will happen,” he told the German broadcaster ZDF.

The Commission launched the consultation as part of its review of the EU summer time directive. It “has not provided details on its outcome, but has said some 4.6 million EU citizens participated”, says Politico.

The Commision didn’t give the exact details of the change but in a consultation paper it said one option would be to let each member state decide whether to go for permanent summer or winter time.

But the Commission also warned that uncoordinated time changes between member states would cause economic harm.

There are three standard time zones currently used by EU members. Three states apply GMT (the UK, Ireland and Portugal) 17 have Central European Time, which is GMT+1 and eight have Eastern European Time, which is GMT+2.

The current seasonal clock changes “are controversial partly because there is a big difference in daylight hours experienced by Scandinavia and by southern Europe”, says the BBC.

Finland, which has the most northerly EU national capital, “has called for the bloc to drop the biannual switch, while Lithuania has urged a review of the current system to take into account regional and geographical differences”, says The Guardian.

“The commission regularly receives feedback from citizens on the summertime issue, which often refer to what they perceive as negative health impacts of the disruptive time change relating to sleep deprivation and other kinds of negative consequences,” the commission said.

“However, some also ask that the current system be maintained, as they believe it has positive effects.”

Any change “would still need approval from national governments and the European parliament to become law”, reports The Guardian.

The UK is one of the EU’s 28 nations, but is due to leave the bloc in March 2019. Any change “would be unlikely to happen before then”, says the BBC.

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