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EU States Call to Postpone Abolishing DST

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Published 28-Nov-2018

EU Member States call for more time and impact assessments to be conducted before putting an end to setting clocks back and forth for Daylight Saving Time (DST).

Illustration image

Clock in Vienna, Austria.

Clocks in the EU, like this one in Vienna, Austria, are set back and forth one hour twice a year.

©bigstockphoto.com/Paha_L

On September 12, 2018, the European Commission issued a draft directive to permanently scrap DST in the EU.

After a compromise was drafted on November 26, it seems those who have been holding their breath, expecting the European Union (EU) to abolish DST within April 1, 2019, can breathe a little easier.

The “Will of the People”

In a public survey, more than 80% of 4.6 million respondents voted to put an end to seasonal clock changes altogether. “The people want it,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated, “so we will do it.”

The original draft proposed that the last EU-wide clock change would be setting clocks forward one hour on Sunday, March 31, 2019. In the meantime, each Member State would have to decide whether to remain permanently on “summer time” or to change their clocks back one final time to permanent standard time on Sunday, October 27, 2019.

Too Little Time

However, basing an EU legislative change merely on a popular vote has caused several Member States to raise timely concerns.

The main issue voiced in the draft compromise proposal is that the April 1, 2019 deadline is too ambitious. In the compromise, this deadline has been pushed two years ahead, to April 1, 2021. The aim is still to end DST by repealing Directive 2000/84/EC.

This latest development is expressed in a working paper prepared by the Austrian EU presidency, published by Politico. The new draft highlights the need for timely execution of any permanent time change, along with proper legal procedures and a detailed impact assessment, which would include consequence analysis and stakeholder consultations.

Calls for Permanent DST

Newly-appointed spokesperson and negotiator on the DST proposal, Marlene Mizzi, told the Malta Independent she will recommend putting an end to the bi-annual setting of clocks and establish permanent Daylight Saving Time as the new standard time in all Member States.

Mizzi, a Maltese Labour Party politician and Member of the European Parliament, emphasizes the need for all EU Member States to have harmonized standard time while retaining the time zone differences they currently have. The alternative, she stresses, could cause unnecessary confusion and inconvenience for travelers and businesses.

In the original draft directive, each Member State would be allowed to decide whether to opt for the summer time standard or the winter time standard, which effectively could lead to an hour's permanent time difference between countries which today are in the same time zone.

Other amendments include extending the period that a Member State needs to inform the EU commission of any future time zone changes from 6 months to 18 months.


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