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Brussels looks to end clock changes in Europe

Brussels looks to end clock changes in Europe


(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission intends to put forward proposals for ending daylight saving clock changes in Europe, following preliminary results of a public consultation on clock changes, published on Friday.

The online consultation, which ran from 4 July to 16 August, received 4.6 million responses from all 28 EU Member States, the highest number of responses ever received in any Commission public consultation. According to the preliminary results, 84% of respondents are in favour of putting an end to the bi-annual clock change.

"Millions of Europeans used our public consultation to make their voices heard," said the EU's Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc: "The message is very clear: 84% of them do not want the clocks to change any more. We will now act accordingly and prepare a legislative proposal to the European Parliament and the Council, who will then decide together."

The preliminary results also indicate that more than three quarters (76%) of the respondents consider that changing the clock twice a year is a 'very negative' or 'negative' experience. Considerations related to the negative health impacts, increase of road accidents or the lack of energy savings, were put forward by respondents as motivations to put an end to the change.

The public consultation follows a European Parliament resolution in February 2018, as well as requests from Member States, stakeholders and citizens, says the Commission.

Most Member States have an old tradition of clock change arrangements, many of which date back as far as the First and Second World Wars or to the oil crisis in the 1970s. From the 1980s onwards, the EU gradually adopted legislation whereby all Member States would agree to coordinate the clock change and put an end to diverging national schedules.

Since 1996, all Europeans have been changing their clock forward by one hour on the last Sunday of March and by one hour backward on the last Sunday of October. The purpose of EU rules was not to harmonise the time regime in the EU but to address the problems, notably for the transport and logistics sectors, which arise from an uncoordinated application of clock-changes in the course of the year.

In parallel to the daylight saving time arrangement in the European Union, the Member States apply three different time zones or standard times. The decision on the standard time is a national competence.

The final results of the public consultation will be published in the coming weeks. The Commission confirms it will make a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council with a view of changing the current clock change arrangements.

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