- 2021 could be the last year with a seasonal time change in the EU
- Member states will keep their right to decide on their time zone
MEPs voted to end the practice of adjusting clocks by an hour in spring and autumn from 2021.
EU countries that decide to keep their summer time should make their final clock change on the last Sunday in March 2021. Those that prefer to keep their standard (winter) time, can adjust their clocks for the final time on the last Sunday in October 2021, says the draft law approved by MEPs with 410 in favour,192 against, 51 abstentions.
MEPs backed the Commission proposal to end seasonal time changes, but voted to postpone the date from 2019 to 2021.
Protecting the single market
MEPs also want EU countries and the Commission to coordinate the decisions to ensure that the application of summer time in some countries and winter time in others does not disrupt the internal market.
If the Commission finds that the foreseen time arrangements could significantly, and permanently, hamper the proper functioning of the single market, it may submit a proposal to postpone the date of application of the directive by a maximum of 12 months, says the adopted text.
The text adopted is the Parliament’s position for negotiations with EU ministers on the final wording of the rules.
Responding to citizens’ initiatives, in February 2018, Parliament called on the Commission to assess the summer time arrangements directive and, if necessary, present a proposal for the directive to be revised.
Following the assessment, which received 4.6 million responses, of which 84% were in favour of ending the clock changes, the Commission tabled the proposal, which will now need to be agreed upon between the Parliament and EU ministers.
The EU first unified the summer time arrangements in 1980, in order to ensure a harmonised approach to time switching within the single market, as until then, national summer time practices and schedules were diverging. The current summer time arrangements directive requires EU countries to switch to summer time on the last Sunday of March and back to standard time on the last Sunday of October.