Politics

Germans enthusiastic about ending switch between summer and winter time

MUNICH, GERMANY (AUGUST 31, 2018) (REUTERS) – For clock collector Werner Stechbarth, the debate over whether to end the switch between summer and winter time is about more than an extra hour or two of daylight.

Twice a year, he spends several days changing the time of the 365 ticking clocks which fill his home.

That could be about to end, if the EU responds to the results of a survey which found that most EU citizens were against the switch.

But Stechbarth is not entirely sure if he wants the practice to end.

“At first I was really pleased, I thought it was great. But now I’ve thought it over a bit and actually it was fun changing my 365 clocks,” he told Reuters, adding that it was also a good opportunity to dust his collection.

More than 80 percent of EU citizens want to abolish the EU’s switch and favoured keeping the time used in summer for the whole year, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on German television, adding he would put the plan to a debate among EU commissioners.

Any change would still need approval from national governments and European Parliament to become law.

On the streets of Frankfurt, people were enthusiastic about the prospect of ending the switch.

“Changing the clocks wasn’t that helpful,” Maria Wania said. ‘”We don’t need it.”

Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in. Speaking on a trip to Nigeria, she said that she hoped the Commission would take the results of the survey seriously.

EU law currently requires that citizens in all 28 EU countries move their clocks an hour forward on the last Sunday in March and switch back to winter time on the final Sunday in October.

But Finland, with the most northerly EU national capital, this year called for the EU to halt the practice, which critics say it can cause long-term health problems, especially among young children and elderly people.

Research has shown that the time change disrupts sleep schedules and can impact productivity at work.

Supporters say making the switch to give extra morning daylight in winter and evening light in summer can help reduce traffic accidents and save energy.

Outside the EU, a handful of European countries have stopped switching between summer and winter time, including Russia, Turkey, Belarus and Iceland.


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