Clocks Change this weekend

Will this be the last time we change clocks?

Don’t forget to change your clocks this weekend. Daylight saving time begins at 2am on Sunday 28th March 2021, when clocks go forward one hour.

Could this be one of the last times you have to change your clocks?
If that question sounds familiar, it is.  We reported back in Spring 2018 that Poland could become the first country in the EU to scrap time changes, however at that time it was considered that EU regulations, (not to mention common sense) would make this unlikely, in spite of cross party support.

However in 2019, the European Parliament voted to end the twice-a-year (March and October) custom of time changes throughout the European Union, leaving member states the freedom to decide their standard time.

The proposed change was scheduled for 2021, ie now, but disagreements at state level in the EU have put the plan on pause for the moment.  The national governments have yet to take a stance.

The coronavirus pandemic (and arguably Brexit)  has pushed the issue of changing the time into the background.

In Poland, consultations were carried out on changing the time – 78 % were in favour of not changing clocks. Government data shows that most Poles prefer summer time.

It is not yet known whether the last time change in Poland will take place in 2021 – there are no new legal regulations yet.

Where are we now and who decides what happens?

The final decision lies with the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.   They will have to reach an agreement together for the proposal to take legal effect, and the council has not yet finalised its position.

The Council’s final decision will be made on the basis of what’s called Qualified Majority Voting.  Which means that if 55% of countries representing at least 65% of the population of the EU want this to happen, even if the remaining countries vote against – all countries have to go along with it.

Previous Polish Debate
In October 2017 a bill to abolish time changes unanimously passed its first reading in the Polish Parliament, having had rare cross party support.  
Supporters of the legislation argued that the twice-yearly time changes cause health problems,  damages the economy, disrupts businesses and does little to cut energy consumption.

“The time changes can lead to imbalances in the body-clock, leading to mood swings, trouble with sleeping, and an increased risk of heart attacks and road accidents”

Those against abolishing the time changes argue that being the only EU country not to change time in Spring and Autumn would cause massive problems for Poland;

“This will affect every person and every institution. You start with watches, smart phones and computers and end with complex industrial systems that control, for example, pipelines. The list of things that will need to be changed is endless.”

Abolishing the time change will also put Poland out of synchronisation with its EU neighbours, most importantly Germany, the country’s biggest trading partner.

Poland introduced time changes during the interwar period, then in the years 1946-1949 and 1957-1964;  it has been in force continuously since 1977.

   EU Research ‘Why we change the clocks’ (2016)

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