Will daylight savings end in the EU by 2021?

Will daylight savings end in the EU by 2021?

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Since 1996, the countries of the European Union have moved the hands of their clocks all in unison: one hour forward on the last Sunday in March and one hour back on the last Sunday in October each year. The synchronization of time across all EU lands has been handy in many aspects: aviation, business, transportation networks and intergovernmental organizations are just a handful of the many entities that benefit from a homogenous approach to time.

One thing E.U. citizens weren’t so keen on, however, was the actual act of changing the clocks and then readjusting to the disruption in body rhythm and routines. An EU public consultation held on the issue last year generated enthusiastic response, with around 4.6 million citizens voicing their opinions. 84 percent of respondents were against continuing the longstanding biannual ritual.

Following a March 26 a vote on legislation to scrap the process of changing the clocks, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved a measure to abolish the twice-yearly time change in 2021. The proposal will now go out to EU member states for continued negotiations.

Now the question facing lawmakers is which time to adopt as the new permanent state of affairs: summer or winter time. And that’s a matter on which EU members remain divided, although a clear majority of the respondents to the aforementioned public consultation voiced a preference to abolish daylight savings altogether.

As to which time to go with, the EU remains silent. Its position is that whatever change is adopted should be done so uniformly. According to the timetable set out by the EU Commission, the legislation would enter into law by this year.

As official bodies grapple with the issue, those of us living in the EU can be sure of one thing: the one-hour clock change scheduled for Sunday, March 31 is a go.

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