By Samuel Stolton
(EurActiv) — Daylight saving time across Europe will soon be a thing of the past, European Commission president Jean Claude-Junker announced on Friday (31), citing the ‘will of the people’ expressed in a recent survey.
A legislative proposal will follow from the EU’s executive arm that puts an end to the changing of the clocks in summer and winter. The move comes after a Europe-wide survey in which a vast majority said that time was up on the changing of the clocks.
The survey featured around 4.6 million participants and ran between 4 July and 16 August. Three million of those were from Germany and around 80% of all participants supported the move. The results also show that 76% of respondents consider the changing of the clocks to be a ‘negative’ experience.
European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc was responsible for presenting the results of the survey to the College of Commissioners, prompting the announcement.
She said: “Millions of Europeans used our public consultation to make their voices heard. The message is very clear: 84% of them do not want the clocks to change anymore. We will now act accordingly and prepare a legislative proposal to the European Parliament and the Council, who will then decide together.”
The commission’s plans are a direct response to the swell of public opinion on the issue. “We carried out a survey, millions responded and believe that in future, summertime should be year-round, and that’s what will happen,” Junker said to German public broadcaster ZDF. “The people want it, we’ll do it.”
Christian Linder of the German Free Democrats party (FDP) also feels that the measures will strike a chord will European citizens. “Good news that the clock changes will finally be abolished — it was annoying,” he wrote on Twitter.
The changing of the clocks in summer and winter is very much a German phenomenon. It was introduced in the country in 1980 for the purpose of saving energy.
Since 1996, all Europeans have been changing their clock forward by one hour on the last Sunday of March and by one hour backward on the last Sunday of October. The reason for the initial implementation of daylight saving time was to tackle the issues in the transport and logistics sectors that arise from uncoordinated clock-changes throughout the year.
This year the EU faced calls from a number of member states including Finland and Sweden to scrap daylight saving time and join countries such as Russia, Turkey and Iceland who don’t take part in the continental switch.