Wednesday, October 5

Europe turns clocks back one hour on Sunday to enter winter time

The early morning of this Saturday 30 to Sunday October 31, the citizens of the European Union (EU) will delay their clocks one hour and at 3.00 it will be 2.00, so that winter time will be entered, a change regulated in community legislation whose suppression has been debated for three years within the EU.

The change of clocks in Europe occurs twice a year, usually on the last Sunday of March and the last of October, and it began to become general in 1974, when the first oil crisis occurred and some countries decided to advance their clocks to make better use of sunlight and thus save electricity.

This weekend, two Member States (Ireland and Portugal) will adjust to GMT time. In the cases of Spain, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Croatia and the Netherlands, they will set their clocks to GMT + 1. For their part, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania will delay the time to GMT + 2.

In September 2018, the European Commission proposed to end the time change in 2019 after a public survey that collected a record number of responses (4.6 million) and which revealed that the majority (84%) of European citizens want to end with that practice.

Even so, the abolition of the time change must be debated and agreed by the two EU co-legislators, the European Parliament and the Council (the Member States), so that it can enter into force. Already last March, the European Parliament urged to put an end to this practice from 2021, but the EU Council has not yet taken a position on the matter.

In its legislative proposal, the Commission offered the Member States the freedom to decide whether they will be permanently governed by summer time or winter time, but urged that they agree on it “in a coordinated manner between neighboring countries”.

Different studies in 2018 indicated that energy savings due to the time change is minimal while citizens’ complaints about its negative health effects increased.