The European Union will scrap the twice-yearly seasonal clock change across the bloc from October 2019, leaving member states to decide by April whether they will stick permanently to summer or winter time, the European Commission said on Friday.
Since 1996, EU law has required all EU countries to move forward by an hour on the last Sunday of March and back by an hour on the final Sunday in October.
“There will be no more seasonal clock changes as of the end of October 2019,” Commissioner Violeta Bulc told a news conference on Friday, acknowledging that this relied on others following the Commission’s “ambitious” schedule.
The proposal follows an EU survey drawing in a record 4.6 million responses and showing 84 percent of them opposed to seasonal clock changes.
The Commission also says seasonal time switches are outdated, implemented during World War One and Two and the 1970s oil crisis to save energy.
“Newer studies confirm that the energy savings are nowadays marginal,” Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said. “We are clearly heading toward smart cities, smart buildings and smart solutions which will bring much more savings than changes of the clock.”
Critics of the twice-yearly clock changes say it can cause long-term health problems, especially among young children and elderly people. Others argue that making the switch to give extra morning daylight in winter and evening light in summer can help reduce traffic accidents and save energy.
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