The European Commission’s Jean-Claude Juncker says its decision, which still faces member approval, could come Friday
Speaking on German television on Friday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the Commission “will decide .. today” whether to permanently stay on summer time.
But any change won’t necessarily happen quickly; both the European Parliament and the 28 European Union member states would need to agree. Juncker noted, however, that the parliament has been moving in this direction for years.
Juncker said the decision follows a poll of EU residents this summer. Results haven’t been released, but a German newspaper, citing Brussels sources, reported that more than 80% of those responding favoured abolishing the semiannual falling back and springing forward.
“The people want it, we’ll do it,” Juncker told the network.
One long-touted argument for the semiannual clock changes — saving energy — doesn’t hold up. The European Commission says the savings are minimal.
Any change would still need approval from national governments and European Parliament to become law.
EU law requires that citizens in all 28 EU countries move their clocks an hour forward on the last Sunday in March and switch back to winter time on the final Sunday in October.
But Finland, with the most northerly EU national capital, this year called for the EU to halt the practice, which critics say it can cause long-term health problems, especially among young children and elderly people.
Research has shown that the time change disrupts sleep schedules and can impact productivity at work.
Supporters say making the switch to give extra morning daylight in winter and evening light in summer can help reduce traffic accidents and save energy.
Outside the EU, a handful of European countries have stopped switching between summer and winter time, including Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Iceland.
Changing clocks is not just a hot-button topic with Europeans. Massachusetts is exploring whether it should stop “falling back” in the winter, thereby giving residents more late-afternoon daylight. If adopted, the state would leave the Eastern Time Zone for the Atlantic Time Zone. A state commission has already voted in favour of the idea.
Arizona doesn’t fiddle with its clocks with the rest of the country, opting instead to shift time zones. A decision over a decade ago to move much of Indiana permanently to Eastern Time was controversial (counties near Chicago, in the northwest part of the state, and Evansville, in the southwest, remain on Central time)