Is it time up for summer time?
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Is it time up for summer time?

European Parliament calls for a study and possible revision

The clocks are normally changed in March and October.

The clocks are normally changed in March and October.

The European Parliament on Thursday approved a resolution which proponents hope marks the beginning of the end of summertime.

The resolution notes that several scientific studies, including the European Parliamentary Research Service study of October 2017, while having failed to arrive at any definitive conclusions, had indicated the existence of negative effects on human health because of summertime.

A number of citizens’ initiatives had also highlighted citizens’ concerns about the biannual clock change which takes place at the end of March and October. 

The resolution also stresses that it is crucial to maintain a unified EU time regime.

It, therefore, called on the European Commission to conduct a thorough assessment of summer-time arrangements and, if necessary, come up with a proposal for its revision. 

READ: Finns want EU to end summer time

Irish Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly, who has been campaigning for the change, told the media: "I'm very pleased that after years of discussions at committee level in the European Parliament, our proposal was debated and voted on today in parliament, and that parliament accepted our proposal to ask the European Commission to come forward with a recommendation that we would end the bi-annual clock change."

"We think that there's no need to change the clocks."

He said the change came in during World War One and was intended to help with energy savings - the indications are that there are very few energy savings, if any - and there are an awful lot of disadvantages to both human beings and animals that make it outdated at this point.

"We're working to try and end it."

The European Parliament's Research Service had said that:

"Beyond considerations on the effects, repeal of the Summer Time Directive would not automatically abolish summer time across the EU.

"It would just end EU-wide harmonisation and bring the issue of summer time back into the competence of the member states.

Member states would be free to decide about their individual time regimes: they might opt to retain summer time or to end summer time.

Abolishing summer time would in the first place result in year-round standard time (winter time), which by definition entails darker evenings in spring and summer.

To obtain year-round summer time member states would technically need to change time zone.

"However, uncoordinated national time arrangements would likely have negative repercussions on the (EU) internal market."

The European Commission has so far offered a non-committal, if not dismissive, answer.

Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said that the benefits to human health resulting from longer daylight must also be taken into consideration and that the appetite in EU national capitals to change the current legislation was limited.

Any commission proposal to amend the European law on summer-time arrangements would need the approval of a majority of EU national governments as well as the European Parliament, a process that can take more than a year.

What do you think about the proposed change? Go to our home page to vote in our online poll.

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