EU votes to end switch to day­light sav­ings time

The Buffalo News - - WORLD NEWS - By Anna Schaverien

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.”

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