Thursday

28th Jan 2021

EU to propose scrapping summer time change

  • No more extra sunshine? - Southern member states would like to keep summertime (Photo: Anja)

EU countries should scrap twice-yearly time changes, the European Commission will propose in upcoming legislation, after a public consultation in which a record number of Europeans participated.

The commission on Friday (31 August) unveiled the results of the survey, closed two weeks ago, on changing the clock in March and October to adjust from wintertime to summertime.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

A record 4.6m people participated in the online exercise and 84 percent were of the view that summertime should be used all the time in future.

EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF ahead of the publication of the results: "People want this, we're doing this".

The commission will soon put forward a legal proposal on which the European Parliament (EP) and the member states in the council will have to decide.

One earlier EP resolution already supported getting rid of summertime.

The EU executive is moving forward based on the preliminary result of the public consultation despite having said before that the online survey is not a referendum and it has not yet finished analysing the replies.

The commission pushed forward with the proposal in an effort to show ahead of European elections next spring that the EU executive is not detached from European people and wanted to give options to member states.

"You say since the participation is not identical across the EU it shouldn't be taken into account. There we disagree," a commission spokesperson told journalists on Friday, adding: "We do care about this when people speak, we do care about it."

However, according to the numbers, mostly Germans participated in the survey, which raises questions if the consultation does represent what most EU citizens want.

The commission's preliminary results show that out of 83m germans, 3.79 percent replied, while in Italy, a country of 60m, only 0.04 percent took part.

In Germany, 84 percent of respondents favoured switching to one time, while in Italy, only 56 percent supported scrapping the twice annual change.

The commission will propose to do away with the time change and, if the bill goes through, EU countries would no longer be required to alter the clock twice a year. But it will be up to them how they harmonise their times. It is not yet clear when the commission will officially put forward he legal text.

The three different time zones separating EU member states will remain.

Finland and Estonia have asked the commission to look into staying on wintertime for the whole year.

Critics say the switch to summertime can cause long-term health problems, while it does not lead to significant savings in energy.

The time change disrupts sleep schedules and can impact productivity at work.

Supporters of the switch argue the extra morning daylight in winter and evening light in summer can help reduce traffic accidents and save energy.

EU gets record response on 'summertime' consultation

The EU Commission has received several million responses from citizens, businesses, and organisations on whether to end the daylight summertime savings. Any tangible change would take ... time.

Agenda

Clock change and Merkel's fortunes top This WEEK

Time will be on the agenda of transport ministers as much of Brussels empties out for Halloween. Meanwhile, Merkel's CDU party is facing a hard test in local elections.

MEPs call for workers to have 'right to disconnect'

MEPs called for a new law guaranteeing workers can 'disconnect' outside work hours, without repercussion. But they also passed a last-minute amendment, calling on the commission to delay any legislation for three years.

EU rolls out vaccine, as UK-variant spreads

Most EU member states began rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 on Sunday, as a more contagious variant from the UK begins to spread on the continent.

News in Brief

  1. Putin holds out olive branch to Europe
  2. US snatched Russian anti-air system from Libya warlord
  3. UK to extradite alleged trafficker to EU despite Brexit
  4. EU puts trust in Boeing 737s after post-crash ban
  5. EU animal-export trade under harsh spotlight
  6. City of London wants to set rules for EU
  7. MEPs want 2030 targets to reduce consumption footprint
  8. Coronavirus cases worldwide pass 100m

Opinion

Sweden's non-lockdown didn't work - why not?

The Swedish king would have been better advised to use his annual Christmas interview to call for unity of purpose and shed light on the political roots of the country's response.

Column

BioNTech: Stop talking about their 'migration background'

I understand that the German-Turkish community - often subjected to condescension in Germany - celebrated the story. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türecki represent scientific excellence and business success at the highest level.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Poland imposes anti-abortion law amid EU concern
  2. The EU's vaccine strategy - the key points
  3. EU-AstraZeneca row flares up after vaccines shortfall
  4. First Covid, now McKinsey - how austerity hit EU healthcare
  5. Frontex suspends operations in Hungary
  6. Cyprus: a heavy caseload for new EU prosecutors office
  7. MEPs: Portugal 'risks undermining' trust in EU prosecutor
  8. EU to control vaccine exports in row over delays

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us