Belgian prime minister wants to consult with his colleagues in the Benelux countries before taking a decision on scrapping the changing of the clocks between summer and winter. He also aims to offer a vote on the question to the Belgian public, but it is still far from clear how that would work.
Belgium adopted the regime of summer and winter time in 1977. The reasoning was that by making better use of the hours of daylight, the country would consume less energy. Studies carried out since then confirm the thesis, but the switch back to winter time in October shows the opposite effect.
The Commission is in favour of changing from winter time to summer time in March 2019 as usual, but for the last time. From then on, the clocks would remain unchanged from one end of the year to the next.
But the Commission also wants to give member states the option to choose between summer time and winter time, both on a permanent basis. The reason: sunrise and sunset times are very different between for example Estonia and Greece.
But Michel is insistent on keeping in line with Belgium’s partners in the Benelux. “it would be absurd,” he said, “to implement different choices with the Benelux. I intend to come t an agreement on this subject with my colleagues in the margins of the next European Council.”
He also wants to put the question to the Belgian public, a spokesperson said, though I is not clear whether that would also be he case in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. “We will continue to consider how we can move towards these changes.”