The European Commission hopes member States and the European Parliament will be able to reach agreement on ending Europe’s twice-yearly hour changes by the end of this year, Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said on Friday. She hopes 31 March 2019 will be the last time Europe switches to Daylight Saving Time (DST). By April, every member State needs to have submitted its choice for maintaining the summer or winter hour.
In theory this means Belgium and the Netherlands, for example, could have different times, but the European Commissioner says she has no doubt member States will make the effort to coordinate their choices.
Ending the hour change requires a qualified majority of member States and a simple majority in the European Parliament.
The Belgian Government has indicated its support for the idea of ending the time switch, as favoured by a large majority of the 50,000 Belgians who responded to a public consultation launched by the Commission. Only in Greece and Cyprus did a majority come out in favour of keeping the old system of changing the clocks for summer and winter.
That consultation also found that 56% of respondents preferred to remain on summer time and 32% on winter time. Preferences vary from country to country. In Belgium more respondents were in favour of maintaining summer time, while in the Netherlands, the opposite was true.