Is this the last time France will switch to winter time?

Is this the last time France will switch to winter time?
Photo: Murray Campbell, Unsplash
The clocks go back in France this weekend - possibly for the last time.

The traditional changing of the clocks for winter time will occur this weekend. At 3am on Sunday, October 25th, the clocks will go back one hour, giving most of us an extra hour in bed.

But this could be the last time that France undertakes the annual autumn ritual.

In March 2019, lawmakers in the European Parliament voted by a large majority –  410 MEPs against 192 – in favour of stopping the changing of the hour from 2021.

However, following the vote, the Parliament specified that each EU member state would decide whether they would keep summer time or winter time.

In France, public opinion is resoundingly in favour of scrapping the hour change, a public consultation made in early 2019 collected more than 2 million responses, with a majority of French voters wanting to stick with summer time.  

However the Covid-19 pandemic has put a spanner in the works by disrupting the normal parliamentary timetables of most countries.

The EU parliament laid out an initial timetable for all member states to have taken a decision by April 2020, so that those who opt to stay on summer time can do so, and those who opt to remain on winter time can too.

However as the pandemic raged in April, the hour change was not high on anyone's list of priorities and most countries have not passed the necessary legislation.

It's still possible that the timetable could be altered, but it seems more likely that this move will be postponed for at least another year. 

The hour change measure has been in place in the EU since 1976 but it has been controversial for years.

It was introduced to save energy, but some critics say that the change of the clocks has actually negative effects on sleep and health.


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