EU Commission President supports ending seasonal time changes

On Friday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he would recommend that the EU end seasonal time changes in favor of staying on summer time throughout the year.

The Commission requested public comment on the matter over the summer after EU Parliament voted in February to review the usefulness of Daylight Saving Time.

Of the 4.6 million comments that the EU Commission received, more than 80 percent were in favor of ending time changes, according to .

noted that Germans were particularly invested in the issue, with three million of the 4.6 million responses coming from that country. For context, there are approximately 508 million residents of the European Union. Still, this public comment reportedly received more responses than any previous comment opened by the EU Commission previously.

Once the EU Commission writes and votes on a draft law abolishing seasonal time change, that law would require approval from the 28 EU member country governments as well as approval from EU Parliament. While that’s unlikely to happen quickly, support for a single, year-round time seems healthy at this early stage. The issue initially gained momentum when 70,000 Finnish citizens signed a petition to end biannual time changes, and Ireland Member of European Parliament (MEP) Sean Kelly has been an outspoken critic of Daylight Saving Time as well.

European countries began changing clocks after World War I, shifting times just before summer to save energy. Longer daylight hours in the evenings would give people more time before they had to switch on lightbulbs to read and work. But today, switching on a lightbulb in the evening is a drop in the bucket compared to more energy-intensive systems that are running at all hours of the day, from computers to air conditioners. With the potential advantages of Daylight Saving Time eroded, critics have argued that changing time twice a year hurts worker productivity and confuses farm animals like cows, who are accustomed to be milked at a certain time.

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