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It's Euro-official: No more time switches


The Parliament of Europe has taken the final-but-one step in ending the twice-a-year switching of clocks between daylight and standard time, but the confusion and recriminations are far from over.

Under the new rules, Europe's governments will each need to choose whether to stay permanently on daylight time from March 2021 on, or to never go on daylight time again after it ends for them in October 2021. But at least two countries are raising other issues.

At present, all but three EU countries—the UK, Ireland and Portugal—share the same time zone and the same semi-annual switch-over. While there have been broad majorities across Europe for ending the switches, differences between countries may result in a checkerboard of time differences once they divide into the two camps—exactly the situation the 1981 common time rule was meant to avoid.

In the UK, which is is on the way out of the EU, some are upset by the vote, claiming that the European Commission, the EU's executive, is acting like "time lords" and trying to force an unwanted change on Britain—even though polls indicate a majority of Brits would prefer to end the switch. If Britain actually succeeds in leaving, that protest will have little meaning.

In Spain, a movement to switch Spain one zone west, joining not only the British but also Portugal and Ireland, has gained new attention as the daylight move approaches. Spain, most of which is actually west of London, moved to Central European Time in 1942; it's widely believed that the Spanish dictator Franco did that in solidarity with his ally, Hitler. In any case, proponents of returning to Greenwich time believe it will allow Spaniards to live their lives in better coordination with their natural rhythms and daylight hours.  

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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Where I live in Northern England it's light around 3am in Summer. Which is pretty useless to most. Much better to move the clock one hour and have the daylight in the evening when we can go out with our Family after work. Like wise in the Winter months. We take the Hour off so we can take the kids to school and go to work in the daylight. The kids can come home before its dark at 4pm.

The European Parliament is very slow to learn that "One size does NOT fit all"

Last edited by GarryRF

Two brief remarks:

1. At present there are actually three time zones within the EU. Greece is an hour ahead of Central Europe.

2. The decision to abolish the clock change is the result of an EU-wide public consultation and did not originate in the Commission or the Parliament. In the UK this public consultation was buried by Brexit-related news coverage.

I, personally, do not worry too much either way, but I can understand both sides of the argument.

It's interesting to me that the most vocal opposition has come in countries that are at the east and west of Central Europe, perhaps in part because they are the ones already living a bit out of their 'natural' space.

Some opponents of switching, or should I say, of ending switching, have pointed out that a large majority of those who participated in the public consultation were in Germany; it's not only Britain where attention was apparently focused elsewhere!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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