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Permanent summer time in Denmark? EU parliament votes to end changing of clocks

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Permanent summer time in Denmark? EU parliament votes to end changing of clocks
Photo: sinenkiy/Depositphotos
18:08 CET+01:00
Lawmakers in the European parliament voted on Tuesday to end the traditional changing of the clocks in spring and autumn from 2021. That could mean permanent summer – or winter – time in Denmark.

MEPs voted 410 to 192 in favour of ending the practice of changing the clocks forward and back in spring and autumn from 2021.

However, the parliament said it should be up to each individual member state to decide whether to stick to summer time or winter time in future.

According to the legislation passed by parliament, the EU member states that decide to stay on summer time will put their clocks forward for a final time in March 2021.

The countries that prefer to stay on winter time will put their clocks back for the final time in Autumn 2021.

The bill is now the official position of the EU parliament, but it will be up to the European Council to make a final decision on whether the clock changes can stop in future.

The council - which is made up by the leaders of each member state - will have to vote unanimously for the change, but may be swayed by the fact the move would be popular among Europeans.

In a Europe-wide survey last year, some 80 percent of Europeans voted in favour of stopping the clock changes, with most people appearing to prefer to stay on summer time rather than winter time.

"The changing of the clocks will be scrapped," European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said last year, adding that the idea would be to keep the whole of Europe on "summer time" all year-round.

"The people want it, so we will do it," Juncker added.

In Denmark, the government has not confirmed its position on the issue. But political opinion as to whether Denmark should choose permanent summer, or indeed winter time – or retain the clock-changing status quo – appears to be divided.

Margrete Auken, an MEP with the Socialist People's Party, supported retaining split summer and winter times in Tuesday's vote.

“The long, light summer evenings are great. They are good for outdoor life, for hygge and for outdoor theatre which takes place in the summer,” Auken told broadcaster DR.

Auken also stressed that energy savings, albeit small, were to be made by retaining winter time.

Summer time was originally introduced by Germany and Austria in 1916 in a bid to save energy and thereby oil by lengthening the evenings. Denmark introduced summer time the same year.

But the energy-saving argument for summer time no longer applies, according to MEP Anders Vistisen of the Danish People's Party, who voted to end the changing of the clocks.

“The old energy-saving argument has disappeared. Meanwhile, there are problems in relation to animals and people when we change the time, so there is no reason to keep the arrangement,” Vistisen told DR.

READ ALSO: Warm temperatures, light evenings on way to Denmark

 
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