he European Parliament has taken up the demand signed by four million Europeans to stop changing the clock one hour ahead or one hour back every six months. Today it backed the report drafted by S&D MEP Marita Ulvskog demanding that this seasonal change of time ends as of 2021.
Marita Ulvskog said:
“We are listening to the demand of EU citizens who feel that this bi-annual change of time damages their health. Studies have shown that there is no significant saving of energy either by changing or not changing the time, so the health concern of children, elderly and ill people is enough for us to demand the abolition of the time change.
“It will be up to each member state to decide which one they prefer to keep. The European Union in any case does not have the competence to decide on the selected time. But we cannot allow for a patch work of different times to exist in the EU, so we expect member states to coordinate their decision.
“Having the proper information and coordination will be crucial, in particular for cross-border transport, from airplanes to trains. We are including one article by which the Commission will be able to postpone the application of the new directive in case the lack of proper arrangements could significantly and permanently hamper the proper functioning of the single market or may pose some threat. In that case, it may postpone the date of application by a maximum of one year and submit a new legislative proposal.”
S&D spokesperson on transport, Ismail Ertug MEP, said:
“The Commission asked citizens what they thought of the seasonal change of time and 4.6 million answered: 84% of them said that they would prefer not to have to change the clock. So far the reasoning behind was to save energy, but it also has adverse impacts on crop yields and animal welfare and interrupting the biorhythms of livestock.
“It also has a negative impact on public health, with children and older people being those most affected. So this is why we decided to listen to the citizens and coordinate the end of seasonal time change.”
Marita Ulvskog will now have to negotiate with the EU Council for a final deal. If accepted by the Council, her proposal would mean that the countries permanently adopting the summer time would change the clock one last time on last Sunday in March 2021, and those choosing the winter time would do the same in October 2021.