Brussels seeks views on permanent summertime

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on whether daylight savings rules should be scrapped, thereby eliminating the need to change the clocks twice a year.

The practice of putting the clocks forward by an hour between March and October is decades old, but the European Parliament in February backed a resolution calling on the Commission to carry out a “thorough assessment” of EU-wide summertime arrangements, which they argued have negative impacts on health.

The Commissions consultation states that while evidence of the “overall [health] effects” remain inconclusive, the impact of the time changes on the human biorhythm may be “more severe than previously thought.”

While energy savings were one of the main driving points for the implementation of the current arrangements, the Commission said overall energy savings have been “marginal” and largely dependent on member countries geographical location.

The two possible outcomes of the consultation (to keep or discontinue the current arrangements) seek to ensure a unified EU time regime, “critical” to avoid disruptions to the functioning of the single market. The choices offered in the consultation are permanent summertime or permanent wintertime (or a different time).

The consultation runs until August 16.

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