Goodbye daylight saving time? How to proceed according to the EU survey on time change

The interest was enormous: hundreds of thousands of Europeans participated in an EU-wide online conversion study. It ended in the night of Friday. Do people have the last word in the discussion about the change between summer and winter time?

Some enjoy long summer evenings, others complain about the intervention in their biorhythms. At least twice a year the debate on time change in the EU is explosive. The European Commission has now asked Europeans what they think about the change between summer and winter time. After approximately six weeks, the online survey went on Friday night. How could it go now? Questions and answers at a glance:

Why was there such a public consultation?

The time change has long been controversial. Recently the European Parliament has exerted pressure. MEPs called on the EU Commission in February to examine pros and cons – and to abolish them if necessary. But several EU countries have also expressed concern. Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia also preferred abolition, as did Finland.

At the beginning of July, the European Commission published its census. EU citizens can indicate whether they want to live without time change in the future – and if so, whether they prefer winter or summer time. Based on the results and other studies and advice, the Brussels authority intends to submit a proposal to abolish the time change. If the time change in the EU should be abolished, each country could decide for itself whether it wants to have summer or winter time permanently.

Why is there such a change in the first place?

The daylight should be used better. In Germany the summer time has been several times. Most recently it was reintroduced in 1980. Impressed by the oil crisis of 1973, people had the hope to save energy in this way. Another reason was the adaptation to the neighboring countries, which already had this regulation. Since 1996 there has been uniform EU-wide regulation. Since then the summer time starts at the end of March and ends at the end of October. During this time it is one hour longer in the evening – a plus for every garden party.

What do opponents of that time expect of abolition?

They claim that no energy is actually saved. According to the federal environmental agency, the Germans turn off less often in the evening because of the change in time in the evening – but & # 39; in the morning and in the morning more is heated. Doctors also see health risks. Sensitive people may have problems with the back and forth – including sleep disorders and loss of appetite. However, the EU Commission stresses that there are still no clear findings "about the overall impact on health."

Critics also have economic consequences, for example for farmers. Thanks to new technology, however, these fears have probably become largely redundant & # 39 ;.

What do Germans think about the time change?

Not much. 73 percent of respondents are against a representative study from the Forsa Institute. In the survey commissioned by DAK-Gesundheit, about a quarter of the respondents said in the spring that they had health problems after switching between winter and summer time. So far, the federal government has not clearly positioned itself on this issue.

What time is it not uniform in the EU – why?

Regardless of summer and winter time, there are three time zones in the EU. Germany and 16 other countries have the same time (CET, Central European time) – including the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Croatia, Poland and Spain. Eight countries (Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Cyprus) have an hour's lead (OEZ, Eastern European time), three countries an hour less (Ireland, Portugal and the UK, HZ, Western European time). The standard time decision is a national matter and would not be affected by the abolition of the time change.

What was the echo of the citizens' meeting?

Huge. More than 500,000 online questionnaires were completed in the first three days alone; In half of the time there were more than one million responses. It is expected that the majority of participants advocate the abolition of the time change, because status quo fans are usually less motivated to volunteer. The European Commission has announced that only the number of participants in the survey will be published on Friday. The result of the vote must first be assessed before it is presented.

Do EU citizens have the last word in terms of time change?

Not quite. The European Commission warns that too much importance is attached to the survey, or even understood as a kind of referendum. She was only part of the rating. However, if the Authority, taking into account all factors, comes to the conclusion that the time change should be abolished, it may propose a proposal to that effect. The EU countries and the European Parliament would then have to agree.

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