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HomeInformationPostponed Time Changes in Europe: From Daylight Saving to Winter Time

Postponed Time Changes in Europe: From Daylight Saving to Winter Time

Roll Back the Clocks: Whither the EU’s Time Change Veto?

It’s that day of the year when most people get an extra hour of sleep. Yes, Sunday, the 29th of October, as Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends and most parts of Europe revert to Winter time. But wasn’t all this clock-swapping supposed to be a relic of the past? What happened to the EU’s plan to ditch the time changes?

The Elephant-in-the-Room

In 2018, a gargantuan public consultation was held by the European Commission where folks from across Europe voiced their opinions on doing away with the seasonal clock changes. Marked as the most successful EU consultation, 4.6 million people stepped up to participate.

A whopping 84% agreed with the proposal to put time changes to bed, citing negative health impacts like sleep disruption, a surge in road accidents, and barely-there energy savings.

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Despite the overwhelming support, the EU’s larger bodies couldn’t find consensus. Toss in issues like Brexit, the ongoing pandemic, and a patchwork of differing viewpoints amongst EU governments, and it’s plain to see why the initiative is yet to gain traction.

Historical Underpinnings

The time change has been around in various forms for over seven decades now. Countries like Germany, France, and the UK kicked off Daylight Saving Time during World War I in an attempt to save energy. It was discarded post-war only to be revived amidst the 1970s oil crisis.

According to the EU directive since 2001, EU member states should push the clock forward by an hour on the last Sunday of March and roll it back on the last Sunday of October. But are these clock changes still saving energy?

Some studies suggest that while the southern countries enjoy the most benefits, the overall savings are marginal, standing between 0.5% and 2.5% due to the many variables involved.

The Road Ahead

While a recent energy crisis breathed some life back into the debate, with the US Senate passing a bill to make DST permanent from November 2023, the official stance of the EU Council remains unaltered.

A spokesperson for the EU Council shared that “The Council has not yet formed its position on the Commission’s proposal,”.

So, it seems safe to say that Europeans should continue winding their clocks back and forth for the foreseeable future. Come 2023, you’ll be turning your clock back by an hour at 2am on Sunday, October 29th.

For now, let’s savour the brief joy of that extra hour of sleep that the season has to offer.

*This article was a collaborative effort with Europe Street News.*

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