A citizen consultation on the time change collected more than 2 million responses, a record number.
And the results are clear: 83.71% of respondents want to end the time changes and the majority want to stay in summer time, according to a statement released on Wednesday.
Launched by the Committee on European Affairs, this non-binding consultation “received 2,103, 999 replies between February 4th and its closure on March 3rd at midnight”, the committee said. This is an absolute record for such a consultation, the previous ones being at best tens of thousands.
The European Commission conducted a similar survey in 2018 and 84% of the 4.6 million replies were in favour of ending the time change.
The latest results, which will be detailed in committee on 12 March, show that “59.17% of respondents choose to always stay on summer time” (UTC + 2). Winter time, which had once held the line, is 36.97%, with the other respondents having no opinion. 61 percent of the respondents said they had a negative or really negative experience with the time change.
Initially introduced to save energy, the change of time in summer and winter in the EU – in force in France since 1976 – has been strongly opposed for years. Critics cite negative effects on sleep and health or road accidents, as well as the lack of real energy savings.
But what are the chances of this actually happening?
It still has some hurdles to overcome. The next step is to convey the people's wishes to the European Council.
In order to turn back the time on the changing of the clocks, the move will first have to be approved unanimously by all member states of the European Union via the European Council as well as MPs in the European parliament.
The clocks go forward at 1am on Sunday 31st March.