Ah, sweet Daylight Saving Time – the two times a year we either dread or look forward to depending on how much more, or less, sleep we get come morning.
But for the EU member states, the twice a year struggle might have come to an end.
In a recent vote, the European Parliament decided against the custom, with 410 voting in favor of removing Daylight Savings and 192 voting against it. This means that by 2021, all 28 members (27, if the U.K. brexits) of the EU, can independently decide on whether or not they want to keep adjusting their time twice a year, stay in “permanent summer” time or stay “permanent winter” time.
Currently, all EU states shift their time forward an hour on the last Sunday of March, and back an hour on the last Sunday in October. Should a state decide to shift their time, their clocks must be set to the final time on the last Sunday of October 2021, the latest.
But leaving the choice up to the individual member states could potentially lead to somewhat of a confusion. How would Europe look like with the countries set in different time zones? The European commissioner for mobility and transport, Violeta Bulc, said during the debate;
“I know from my discussions with member states so far that all of them see as clearly as we do the need for a coordinated approach,” “No one wants to see a patchwork of time zones within the E.U.”
The concept of daylight savings time was first introduced during the first world war in order to save energy by prolonging daylight during summer evenings. However, a report that was published by the European Parliament before the vote took place, suggests that the time changes had such an impact on our biological cycles that it could potentially be the underlying reason to certain cardiovascular diseases.
Marita Ulvskog, a Swedish MEP, added to the debate, saying: “This seasonal time change that was invented because of a wish to save energy does not work; it does not give the desired result,” “So why keep that system? We are deciding to give up on the experiment.”