Brussels, 5 March 2019 (MIA/dpa) – A proposal to abolish seasonal time change across the European Union advanced Monday as a panel of EU lawmakers voted to enact the change in 2021.
Under a measure approved by the European Parliament’s transport committee, EU member states would scrap the practice of adjusting clocks twice a year and decide for themselves whether they want to convert to daylight savings time or standard time year-round, lawmakers said.
Member states remain at odds over the broader issue, and their approval is needed for enactment.
“There are serious warnings from doctors about health hazards caused by the biannual time change,” said Czech EU lawmaker Pavel Svoboda on behalf of the dominant bloc, the centre-right European People’s Party. “It is high time that we address this now.”
Member states must inform the European Commission of their choice ahead of the switch, by April 2020, and then coordinate with the bloc’s executive so that their decisions do not disrupt the functioning of the single market, he noted.
This coordination will give all sides time to iron out problems in areas such as transport timetables and flight schedules, Svoboda said, adding that if the commission sees problems with implementation, it may order a 12-month delay.
In 2018, the commission proposed abolishing the seasonal clock change after an EU-wide online poll showed overwhelming support. It initially called for making the switch in 2019, but the fast timetable encountered resistance from some member states.
The measure now goes to the full parliament for approval, after which negotiators from the commission and member states will take it up.