Mobility and Transport

Seasonal clock change in the EU

Seasonal clock change in the EU

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On 12 September 2018, the Commission presented a proposal to end seasonal time changes in 2019 throughout the EU, while leaving Member States the freedom to decide their standard time.

The system of bi-annual clock changes has been increasingly questioned, by citizens, by the European Parliament, and by a growing number of Member States. The Commission has, therefore, analysed available evidence, which points to the importance of having harmonised rules in this area to ensure a proper functioning of the internal market. This is also supported by the European Parliament as well as other actors (e.g. in the transport sector).

The Commission has also carried out a public consultation, which generated around 4.6 million replies, of which 84% were in favour of discontinuing the bi-annual clock changes while 16% wanted to keep them. A report was produced on the results of the consultation.

 

Historical evolution

European countries introduced summertime arrangements in the last century to save energy, particularly in times of war or during the oil crisis of the 1970s. Starting in 1980, the EU gradually adopted legislation putting an end to the diverging schedules of the national clock changes.

Since 2001, EU summertime arrangements have been governed by Directive 2000/84/EC, setting out the obligation on all Member States to switch to summer-time on the last Sunday of March and to switch back to their standard time ("winter-time") on the last Sunday of October.

 

Standard time

 

Currently there are three standard time zones in the EU: Western European Time (Ireland, Portugal, UK), Central European Time (17 Member States) and Eastern European Time (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania).

 

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