The EU Directive 2000/84/EC has been responsible for regulating the time change that takes place between winter and summer time across EU member states since 2002, making the clocks move forward by an hour on the last weekend in March as well as making the clocks go back on the last weekend in October the times when this change is implemented. However, over the next coming years, we may see an end to this practice across Europe.
This is because the European Commission has announced that the twice-yearly clock change will be scrapped from October 2019. Consequently, all member states will have to make a decision by April 2019 as to whether or not they want to choose to permanently have summer or winter time.
But what has led to this being implemented? The announcement by the European Commission follows an EU survey that was carried out which triggered a massive 4.6 million responses, with an overwhelming majority (84 percent of those who participated) stating that they opposed these seasonal clock changes.
Why are so many against the time switches? Some argue that extra daylight in the morning during the winter months ( as well as the longer evenings in summer) can help to improve energy efficiency as well as the potential to reduce traffic accidents. Whilst other critics have pointed out to evidence that the time changes could be responsible for long-term health problems. Meanwhile, the Commission has expressed that it feels these time shifts are outdated, having only been implemented during World War On and Two, as well as the 1980s oil crisis as a means of reducing energy consumption.
- Anglmayer, I. 2017. EU summer-time arrangements under Directive 2000/84/EC. European Parliamentary Research Service [online: here], retrieved on 31/10/2018.
- Belam, M. 2018. When do the clocks go back and could 2018 be the last time they change?. [online: here], retrieved on 31/10/2018.
- Blenkinsop, P. 2018. EU seeks to scrap seasonal clock changes in 2019. [online: here], retrieved on 31/10/2018.
Written by Mairead Finlay – Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg). She has studied Translation at the University of Geneva and holds a BA in Politics and French from the University of Bristol.