Putting an end to summer and winter time?

Clock in the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives
Clock in the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives

The European Commission wants to abolish the changing of the clocks, twice a year, for summer and winter time. According to the Commission, an increasing number of citizens, Member States and members of the European Parliament are critical of the practice of changing the clocks. Meanwhile, Finland and Lithuania expressed themselves in favour of abolishing the system of summer and winter time altogether.

Those in favour of summer time believe that one hour more daylight will reduce the road accident toll and save energy. Opponents claim that there is no proof of such energy savings. Moreover, they argue that biorhythm disturbance may cause health damage to both human beings and animals.

Member States are free to make their own choice

According to the proposal of the European Commission, Member States themselves can decide whether to continue with winter time (current standard time) or summer time in the future. The Commission's plan was to abolish summer and winter time as of April 2019, but in the meantime, this plan has met with so much criticism that this date no longer seems an option.

Pros and cons

The standing committee on the Interior had asked Ms Ollongren to list the pros and cons of permanent summer time and permanent winter time respectively. What is the Cabinet's position? Are the Benelux countries acting jointly? Will there be a referendum on the issue? The minister answered these question in a letter, on which she further elaborated in the debate.