Ahead of yet another seasonal time change lead transport MEPs urge EU countries to speed up their work and respond to citizens plea to end clock change.
Back in March 2019 the European Parliament voted to end the practice of adjusting clocks by an hour in spring and autumn from 2021. However, it was not met by the same ambition in the EU Council, which after two years of consideration has not come up with a joint position.
As the EU countries are set to switch to summer time in a few days, the Parliament’s rapporteur Johan Danielsson (S&D, SE) said: “It is important to listen to our citizens’ demand to stop changing time. 4.6 million people replied to the public consultation on this issue, the biggest amount ever. This is a topic that is dear to our citizens and we need to show them that the European Union cares about their concerns. An estimated 20% of the population suffers from physical or mental problems in connection to the time change. These are often vulnerable groups in society, such as children, the elderly and the chronically ill. I truly hope that the EU countries will stop dragging their feet and come to the negotiation table to agree on ending clock change in the EU without further delay.”
“84% of EU citizens are in favour of ending the clock changes, which according to numerous studies has a negative effect on human health. It is clear - seasonal time change must end and EU countries should coordinate amongst themselves on picking the best time for their region. However, this could only be possible if we can start talks on new rules as soon as possible”, added Transport and Tourism Committee chair Karima Delli (Greens/EFA, FR).
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 was revised by European Parliament in 2019. For new rules to become EU law they 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.