A European Union online survey has concluded that a vast majority of the bloc’s citizens are against switching between summer and winter time. All signs point towards the EU now putting a stop to changing the clocks.More than 80 percent of respondents to the largest online survey in EU history are in favor of abolishing changing the clocks in summer and winter, EU sources reported Wednesday.
Around 4.6 million people took part in the survey, which ran between July 4 and August 16. Three million of the respondents were from Germany.
The EU Commission will officially present the results on Thursday, and did not wish to comment Wednesday. However, German newspaper Westfalenpost reported the results, citing well-informed sources in Brussels.
Summertime in its current form was introduced in Germany in 1980 — and much earlier in some other EU member states — for the purpose of saving energy. Since 2002, the changeover has been uniformly regulated throughout the bloc.
Every year, EU member states put clocks forward one hour on the last Sunday of March and back again on the last Sunday in October.
There are currently three different time zones within in the EU: Western European Time or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), Central European Time, one hour ahead and Eastern European Time, two hours ahead of GMT.
A victory for time change opponents?
In February, the EU parliament had called for a review of the scheme, saying that summer time could have “negative consequences for human health.”
Peter Liese, a German member of the European parliament for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, told Westfalenpost that the European Commission must take concrete measures to reconsider time change. “If the outcome of consultations is clear, the European bodies should not ignore it,” he said.
Liese said he was counting on a swift proposal by the European Commission at the end of summertime. “Thus the law could be passed prior to the European parliament elections in May, next year,” he said.
The head of the German Christian Democrat group in the European Parliament, Daniel Caspary, said his party would back the abolition of changing the clocks.
“I see plenty of support for a regulation, that would introduce daylight saving time (summertime) the whole year round,” he told the news agency dpa.
The myth of energy saving
Those against EU’s changing clocks argue that summer time hasn’t achieved what it promised. The European Commission has found that energy savings as a result of time changes have been minimal. Meanwhile, many citizens in the 28-nation bloc complain of disruptions to their biorhythm, including difficulty sleeping, irritation and lack of concentration.
The European Commission’s representative in Berlin said it will take time to review the results of the EU-wide survey, adding that experts also have to weigh in with their opinions before the body can make a recommendation and draw up new guidelines.
shs/rt (dpa, AFP)
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