The EU Commission has proposed a measure to the Council of Ministers to abandon the switch from summer to winter time. For Belgium, that would mean a standard time of GMT + 2 – the current time.
The measure was supported by a large majority of an informal poll conducted by the commission itself.
Opinions vary across the continent; In Scotland, children go to school in the dark in the winter, and farmers begin work before sunup. In the south of the country, regardless of time zones, the situation is more or less reversed.
The EU Commission has now carried out a poll, which will form the basis of a proposal by the Commission to scrap the switch from winter to summer time across the continent.
The online consultation received 4.6 million responses from all 28 Member States, with more than the 3 million responses from Germany, where the participation rate was the highest (3,79 %). In most countries the participation rate was well below 1 %.
According to the preliminary results, 84% of respondents are in favour of putting an end to the bi-annual clock change. All countries besides Cyprus, Greece and Malta supported overwhelmingly abolishing the change. The Commission intends to publish the full results soon.
“If that’s what people want, that’s what we will do,” said Jean-Paul Juncker, president of the Commission.
The current directive on changing the clock twice a year – forward by one hour on the last Sunday of March and by one hour backward on the last Sunday of October – will be revised and the decision if and when to change the clock will be left to the Member States.
However, at a press conference last Friday journalists questioned if a new proposal will not lead to more division in Europe and risk making things more complicated.
The change – no more switching from summer time to winter time – would bring major benefits, supporters claim.
For example, businesses would spend less on electricity , as they would have to spend less on lighting.
The difference between summer and winter time was introduced by Germany in 1916. The move was caused by a shortage of fuel after the First World War. Summer time means longer periods of sunlight and less need for energy. Other European countries followed suit.