Citizens regularly comment to the European Parliament on the changing of the clocks. The clocks have gone forward recently, but how long will this periodic change continue?
The European Parliament voted to abolish seasonal time changes in 2019. However, the governments of EU countries have not yet been able to reach an agreement.
Under EU rules adopted in 2000, clocks in all EU countries are put forward by one hour on the last Sunday in March, and put back by one hour on the last Sunday in October.
However, a growing number of citizens have expressed a desire to stop these seasonal clock changes. In a resolution adopted in February 2018, the European Parliament called on the Commission to conduct a thorough assessment of the summer-time arrangements and, if necessary, to come up with a proposal for their revision.
Proposal to scrap changing the clock
In September 2018, following a public consultation, the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal to stop applying seasonal changes in EU countries.
This proposal was put forward for adoption under the ordinary legislative procedure, in which the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, which represents EU countries, take decisions on an equal footing.
European Parliament in favour of scrapping clock changes
In a legislative resolution of March 2019, the European Parliament supported the Commission proposal to discontinue seasonal changes of time. More information and links can be found in a press release. The video recording of the plenary debate can be watched here (start 19.42, end 20.49).
Blocked since no agreement among EU countries
Under the initial proposal, the new rules were due to apply as from 1 April 2021. However, since EU countries have not been able to reach a position, the rules have yet to be updated. As a result, seasonal clocks changes continue twice a year.
You can find more information about this legislative procedure in the procedure file published by the European Parliament’s Legislative Observatory.
Question from Members of the European Parliament
Several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have written parliamentary questions on this topic, for example a question to the European Commission in June 2022, entitled ‘Status of the seasonal time changes proposal and the outlook for its adoption’. In its reply from September 2022, the Commission underlines that any change is still blocked by EU countries.
- Discontinuing seasonal changes of time, European Parliamentary Research Service, Briefing, March 2019
- Directive discontinuing seasonal change of time, European Parliamentary Research Service, Legislative Train Schedule
- EU summer-time arrangements under Directive 2000/84/EC, Ex-post impact assessment study, European Parliamentary Research Service, October 2017
- Seasonal changes of time, European Parliament’s Legislative Observatory
- State of the Union 2018: Q&A on the Commission’s proposal to put an end to seasonal clock changes, European Commission
- Seasonal clock change in the EU, Mobility and Transport – European Commission
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