Europeans put their clocks back for winter on October 28. The question now is whether it will be the last time they do so.
In September, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced with some fanfare a plan to scrap the twice-yearly switch of Europe’s clocks from next year. Millions of people had called in a survey for the decades-old practice to end, saying getting up an hour earlier from March and then back again in October was a pain.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, EU officials said Juncker, who will step down as EU chief executive a year from now, also wanted to make a point about the EU, much derided by a rising strain of nationalism. He wanted to step back from imposing rules on member states — although the plan means going from demanding the time-change to banning it.
The Commission wants each EU government to decide by April which time zone they want to be in permanently — whether in October 2019 they want to stay in summer time forever or turn their clocks back one last time to permanent winter time.
According to Reuters, Austria, which chairs ministerial meetings till December, has proposed delaying any change beyond next year. That may throw the whole process into question, as a new Commission takes over.