Will the time change in 2021 be abolished?
EU Parliament wants to end the time change in 2021
Time change: what’s the problem?
Abolition of the time change: what’s next?
Maybe the time change will not be abolished after all?
Germany: Summer or winter time after the time change has been canceled?
Vote: Are you in favor of abolishing the clock change?
Time change: why is it available at all?
Facts about the time change: This speaks for summer and winter time
2020: Changeover on March 29
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When will it finally stop?
In March 2020 it will be daylight saving time again. When will the EU actually do away with the clock change? What time is left then?
Munich – By far the most successful Internet survey in the European Union was the abolition of the half-yearly time change. The EU Commission received 4.6 million responses. Three million came from Germany. That was a year ago. Not much has happened since then.
We explain whether the project can still succeed. First of all: In spring 2020, the clocks will still be switched to summer time.
After the survey, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced that he would submit a legislative proposal. Things seemed simple: “Millions have replied and believe that summer time should apply to everyone in the future,” he said. The time change should be done away with. In future, states could decide for themselves whether they want winter or summer time permanently.
Just over a year later, there is little progress in the circle of EU countries. A large part of the countries still have no position, it was said from diplomatic circles in Brussels. There is concern that the effects of a change have not been sufficiently researched and analyzed.
The European Parliament, on the other hand, already advocated in March to abolish the 2021 changeover. In order for the change to come into force, the majority of EU countries would also have to agree. So far, no agreement has been reached with the responsible transport ministers. The implementation of the planned abolition of the time change is currently still in the stars. There are problems in one place in particular.
The biggest problem is that the states can choose whether they want summer or winter time permanently. There is currently a large time zone in Central Europe from Poland to Spain, to which Germany and 16 other EU countries belong.
Some countries – such as Greece – are an hour ahead, others – for example Portugal – are an hour behind. An important concern of several countries is therefore to avoid a time “patchwork”. To do this, they not only have to coordinate internally, but also with each other – and that takes time.
In addition, the states are currently experiencing completely different problems: On 31 October, Britain’s uncontrolled exit from the EU threatens, the slow reform of EU asylum law threatens to further split the Union in the delicate negotiations about the future EU financial framework there is little progress. And on November 1st, the new commission under President-elect Ursula von der Leyen will start work. Theoretically, the latter could then withdraw the proposal.
“The European Parliament has taken up all concerns and also very quickly made very good proposals for coordination between the Member States so that there is no patchwork of many different time zones in Europe,” said the health policy spokesman for the Union parties in the EU Parliament, Peter Liese. “Perhaps the ministers should take another look at our proposal before they want to reinvent the wheel.” Liese sees the blame for the problems with the abolition of the time change at the Council of EU countries: “The Member States oversleep the time change” criticized the CDU politician that there are already good proposals for coordination.
The EU Commission naturally comments the matter much more factually. “The Commission has put the summer time issue on the political agenda after numerous demands from citizens and states, a resolution of the European Parliament, a number of studies and a public questioning,” said a spokesman for the Brussels authority. It is now up to the EU countries to find a common position.
But this is exactly what is difficult. It is a thankless task for Finland, which has chaired the EU countries by the end of the year. The Finns also made very different issues a priority during their presidency, especially climate protection. Romanian Transport Minister Alexandru-Razvan Cuc said after a discussion with his EU colleagues in Luxembourg that the EU Member States need more time for consultations.
The next official opportunity for EU countries to close the issue will be at the Transport Ministers meeting in December. If they fail to do so, it could eventually end up with the heads of state and government. But there is no talk of that at the moment, it says in Brussels.
An EU diplomat said in summer 2019 that he did not believe that the EU countries would still come to a common denominator. The topic is too complicated. “Something is being tried here that is not the solution to a problem, but creates a problem.”
The responsible EU Commissioner Violeta Bulc, however, rejected this. “Nobody is talking about dropping the topic.” They believe that the project can be completed in the second half of the year. CSU MEP Markus Ferber criticized a standstill among the EU countries. “The European citizens have given us a clear mandate, and we have to do it without delay.”
The Federal Government favors the introduction of year-round summer time, but emphasizes that the decision can only be made together with neighboring countries. Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) was in contact with his EU colleagues, it was said in March.
Daylight saving time has been in Germany since 1980. Energy was originally supposed to be saved thanks to better use of daylight, but the economic benefits are negligible. In addition, scientific knowledge suggests that some people suffer health problems from the change in time.
According to surveys, 78 percent of citizens in Germany consider the switch to summer time to be superfluous. According to a recent survey by the health insurance company DAK, around one in four (26 percent) is struggling with health or psychological problems after the change.
A representative Forsa survey of 1,014 people in Germany on behalf of the KKH (Commercial Health Insurance Fund) from 2013 shows that the switch between summer and winter time disturbs the rhythm of sleep.
According to the study, four out of ten Germans have problems with the time change – Women (46 percent) significantly more than men (36 percent). Most of those affected need some time to get back to normal sleep patterns. Nine percent of women and four percent of men even said that they really suffer from the time change.
The German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine is in favor of maintaining normal time. The daylight and in particular the blue part of the sunlight is the “main timer” for the internal clock of the human being and decisive for the awake-sleep-rhythm. According to the experts, all of this is best guaranteed in winter.
Conversion to summer time, on the other hand, threatens a lack of sleep, which leads to loss of concentration and performance as well as more accidents. The German Teachers’ Association also fears health risks for schoolchildren in the event of a permanent change to summer time. This increases the likelihood of sleeping and learning problems massively.
The change between normal time – colloquially also called winter time – and summer time has long been controversial. Since 1996, the clocks in the EU have been changed every hour on the last Sunday in March and on the last Sunday in October.
Update from March 20, 2020: Many had asked for the procedure to be abolished, but the clocks will be changed again this year. We explain the most important thing about the time change to daylight saving time 2020.
In Germany, winter time ends on March 29, 2020. Winter time begins in autumn 2020 on October 25.
Merkur editor Claudia Muschiol considers the end of the time change to be a big mistake.
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