The European Union will end daylight savings time (DST) starting in October, 2019, ending the decades-long practice of changing the clock twice every year.
What originally started as a way to conserve energy during both world wars and the oil crisis in the 1970s and made into European law in 1996 will be overturned starting next year.
European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc announced on Friday that “EU member states would have until April 2019 to decide whether they would permanently remain on summer or winter time,” according to a report in DW.
No more seasonal clock changes after October 2019. This ambitious timeline will allow European citizens to reap the benefits without delay. I’m inviting @Europarl_EN & @EUCouncil to start work right away. #clockchange #SOTEU pic.twitter.com/D8te0w6wCL
— Violeta Bulc (@Bulc_EU) September 14, 2018
Following a number of requests from citizens, the European Parliament and certain EU Member States, the Commission launched a public consultation into the current EU summertime arrangements last July.
This consultation is part of an assessment of the EU summertime directive, which the Commission has recently launched to evaluate whether or not the rules should be changed.
In the Summertime Arrangements consultation, the EC explained how ending daylight savings time would effect the European Union with particular attention paid to northern countries where, depending on the season, hours of daily sunlight vary greatly.
“It should also be noted that the availability of daylight varies according to EU Member States’ geographical location. Northern EU Member States have a relatively large seasonal change in available daylight in the course of the year, characterised by dark winters with little daylight and bright summers with short nights. For the Southernmost EU Member States the day and night distribution of daylight scarcely alters during the year.”
Time and Date reports that Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Iceland, Russia, and Turkey don’t use DST but remain on standard time all year.
In an article last August in The Independent, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the continent-wide Summertime Arrangements survey to which 4.6 million people responded, revealed that 84 percent of Europeans wanted to stop moving the clocks back and forward by an hour under daylight saving time.
In 2016, Turkey decided to end DST permanently. The Turkish occupied territory of Northern Cyprus still follows the rest of Cyprus and changes the clocks in accordance with the EU’s DST regulations.
Bulc added, “I order to maintain a harmonised approach we are encouraging consultations at national levels to ensure a coordinated approach of all member states.”
The last EU-wide clock change will be on Sunday, March 31, 2019. Each member state would then have the chance to decide if they stay on standard time year-round or change their clocks once more on Sunday, October 27, 2019 to observe permanent “summer time” in subsequent years.
Juncker remarked that “clock-changing must stop,” and that “member states should themselves decide whether their citizens live in summer or winter time.”
“Millions think that in the future we should have summertime all year round, so that’s what will happen. The people want this, we will do this.”