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EU Parliament votes to end seasonal clock changes

It's now down to individual EU countries to decide whether to stay on standard or daylight saving time. Last month the Finnish government chose standard time.

Kädet pitävät herätyskelloa.
File photo of a clock. Image: Sebastien Nogier / EPA

The elimination of biannual clock-changing rituals across the EU has taken a step forward.

On Tuesday the European Parliament voted to eliminate the practice of changing the clocks by an hour back and forth twice a year across the EU. MEPs approved the measure by a margin of 410 yes votes, 192 no votes and 51 abstentions. All 28 EU states currently change their clocks an hour ahead and back twice a year.

The EU Parliament endorsed a proposal by the European Commission to end the biannual clock change, but pushed forward the deadline from this year to 2021.

The matter is not settled however, as each EU country needs to decide whether to remain on daylight saving time (during spring and summer) and standard time (from mid-autumn until early spring).

Consensus needed

Last month the Finnish government said it supports scrapping seasonal daylight saving and to permanently stay on standard time. A citizens' initiative on the matter was sent to Finnish lawmakers in 2017.

In order to avoid problems and market conflicts, the EU Parliament said it wants individual countries to coordinate their decisions on their changes with each other.

Going forward - if and when member states come to agreement - countries that decide to stay on daylight saving time will turn their clocks forward an hour for the final time in March 2021 and those that choose to remain on standard time will turn their clocks back an hour for the last time in October 2021.

Last year, following requests from the public, the EU Parliament and some member states, the EU Commission decided to examine the issue of eliminating the practice of daylight saving time changes.

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