Europe set to review daylight saving time over clock change safety fears

Europe set to review daylight saving time over clock change safety fears
By Michael Daventry
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Several northern European countries are urging the EU to abolish clock changes in winter and summer


For millions of Europeans twice every year, changing the clocks means a sudden change to their morning routines.

In some countries, particularly in the north, it can mean workers and schoolchildren leaving home in the dark.

Now lawmakers in the European Parliament have voted to review whether the EU should keep daylight saving time.

That could result in the member states deciding to completely stop switching its clocks back and forward between the winter and summer months.

"The lack of sleep that [the clock change] provokes for many fellow citizens poses a real problem of road safety," said French Greens MEP Karima Delli during this week's debate.

"It is the cause of a large number of accidents involving the most vulnerable road users. I hereby think of pedestrians and cyclists."

But Belgian MEP Hilde Vautmans said that losing summer time would mean "that for seven months we lose one hour of light. That would mean the end of beautiful summer evenings with friends on the terrace in the garden, of biking or jogging with therefore a lesser quality of life.

She continued: "Imagine now that we get rid of winter time. Well, this is not an option because it means that for five months, the sun will rise an hour later and that children must go to school in the dark: very dangerous.

"When I take everything in consideration, I want to be wise, we should keep the current system."

Violeta Bulc, the EU's transport commissioner, warned that any decision to change daylight savings time must be taken at a European level.

"Uncoordinated national time change in the course of the year would create very important problems for the good functioning of our internal market, notably in the transport sector," she said.

"So, if we ever decide to stop changing the clock it has to be done throughout EU in a synchronised and unified manner."

384 lawmakers in the European Parilament voted in favour of the review, which once complete could lead to early mornings looking quite different for many Europeans in the future.

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