EU Politicians Speak Up to Remove DST
The Sun may be setting on the practice of Daylight Saving Time (DST) as European politicians demand answers in an EU plenary session in Strasbourg, France.
Leading up to the debate on Thursday, October 27, 2016, several EU countries want to abandon the practice of setting the clocks forward 1 hour in the spring and back again 1 hour in the fall.
Unhealthy and Outdated
The debate was called Switch between summer and winter time, and the discussion echoed the arguments of DST-opposers, claiming DST brings no real benefits, only harm to people's health, and that the practice is a relic from wartime energy savings.
Today all member countries in the EU synchronize DST according to Directive 2000/84/EC. Clocks are set forward 1 hour on the last Sunday in March, and back 1 hour the last Sunday in October at 01:00 UTC.
Ahead of the debate, the European Commission received a letter from 7 Members of the European Parliament (MEP) asking the Commission to evaluate the Directive and to consider abolishing it. Work on the evaluation had already started, and the views from the debate were to be included in the work.
In 2014, the EU Commission carried out a study to look at the effects if EU member countries were to leave DST individually, and how it would affect the internal market in the European Union. The conclusion was that there was not sufficient evidence supporting a removal of DST, and if a change was to be made, it would have to be harmonized.
MEP Arne Gericke from The Netherlands argued that DST was a source of constant debate because nothing had changed despite years of complaints and that a uniform solution was needed. He also argued that instead of keeping the practice status quo, a harmonized solution could also mean no time change at all.
MEP Herbert Reul from Germany was looking for a final investigation into the disadvantages of DST, claiming that energy savings were no longer a valid argument to keep the practice.
MEP Inés Ayala Sender from Spain argued that later sunsets have a positive effect on a country's economy, as hotel occupancy dropped after the winter time switch.
No Clear Conclusion
MEP Seán Kelly from Ireland urged the Commission to simply come forward with a proposal to end the practice, as only the Commission could bring about a change, and not the Member States alone.
Member of the Commission, Tibor Navracsics, tried to conclude the debate, promising to pass on all ideas and views and reminded the MEPs that the Commission had not received any official requests on the issue from Member States.