Time’s up? EU to stop changing the clocks

An overwhelming majority of Europeans who participated in an online survey want to make the seasonal practice of changing clocks a thing of the past, according to results released on Friday by the European Commission.
Eighty-four per cent were in favour of such a change, the preliminary results show. The highest support was in Finland, at 95 per cent, while Greek respondents were least in favour, at 44 per cent.
Seventy-six per cent described the current practice as “very negative” or “negative” in terms of personal impact.
The release follows comments by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who said that the commission will propose to scrap daylight savings time across the European Union. “The people want it, so we will do it,” he told German public broadcaster ZDF.
The EU member states and European Parliament would have to approve any final reform. But the poll results could serve as a basis for the legislative action needed to enact any changes into law.
At present, clocks on summertime run two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in most of Europe. During the winter months, clocks across the EU move back by an hour.
It remains unclear how much it would cost to scrap clock changes across the EU. The commission said it would provide a rough estimate of the expense when it releases its full report in the coming weeks.
The practice of standardising daylight savings across the EU goes back to the 1980s, although many countries tried variations going back to World War I. Proponents have cited energy savings, enhanced road safety, and other advantages from having more light during the day.
As the European Commission noted when it released its poll, however, the scientific evidence for these effects might not be that robust.
Moreover, the clock switch has a much more profound effect on northern Europe than on southern Europe, on account of their position relative to the equator. — dpa