EU votes to end switch to daylight savings time
LONDON – The European Union has moved one step closer to scrapping seasonal time change after a substantial majority of lawmakers voted to end the requirement to move clocks ahead by one hour in spring and then back in the fall.
Under the current law, which has been in place for member states for two decades, clocks are moved ahead one hour on the last Sunday in March to create daylight saving time, and then moved back to standard time on the last Sunday in October.
The European Parliament voted 410-192 on Tuesday to back a draft law to abolish the twice-a-year switch.
Under the draft law, each of the 28 countries in the bloc (although Britain may have left by then) will have to choose before 2021 whether it will follow daylight saving time throughout the year or maintain standard time.
That may seem to be a recipe for confusion, but Violeta Bulc, European commissioner for mobility and transport, sought to allay concerns.
“I know from my discussions with member states so far that all of them see as clearly as we do the need for a coordinated approach,” she said during the debate. “No one wants to see a patchwork of time zones within the EU.”
European countries unified arrangements for daylight saving time in 1980 to prevent differing time zones from undermining the single market.
The practice started in the United States and some European countries during World War I as a way to conserve fuel by extending summer daylight.
“This seasonal time change that was invented because of a wish to save energy does not work; it does not give the desired result,” said Marita Ulvskog, a member of the European Parliament from Sweden who wrote the transport and tourism committee’s draft resolution on discontinuing seasonal time changes, in a phone interview.
“So why keep that system? We are deciding to give up on the experiment.”