The European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee voted to abolish the twice-yearly seasonal time change in 2021. It is now up to the Member States to choose between permanent summer or winter time, by 2021.
This decision was based on an online survey in which 4.6 million EU residents participated, of which 84% were against the hour change. 54% of Maltese residents were also against this. The plenary will now have to approve the proposal.
According to the committee, member states must inform the Commission of their decision regarding summer or winter time by April 2020.
As from 2001, EU countries have been switching to summer time on the last Sunday of March and back to standard time on the last Sunday of October. This arrangement was introduced to save energy, particularly in times of war or during the oil crisis of the 1970s. Starting in 1980, the EU gradually adopted legislation to regularise time changes.
The original proposal was for the scrapping of time changes by April 2019, but Marita Ulvskog, a Swedish Social Democrat MEP who is guiding the law through parliament, explained that this was too soon. The proposal for 2021 is to allow time for governments and businesses to plan accordingly.