European Parliament delays plan to end clock changes

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Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session during a plenary session at the European Parliament on March 26, 2019 in Strasbourg. FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images

Lawmakers in the European Parliament voted on Tuesday in favour of plans to put an end to daylight saving — but not until 2021, two years later than the European Commission had wanted.

The plan will require countries to decide next year whether they want to opt for either permanent summer or winter time. French citizens have come down in favour of summer time, but many remain undecided.

MEPs want the Commission to report back on how scrapping the clock change — an EU standard since 1996 — works out in practice. The plan was adopted with 410 votes in favour and 192 against.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced plans to end daylight saving time last year, following an EU survey in which the vast majority of the 4.6 million respondents voted to discontinue the practice of switching clocks forward by one hour in spring and back by one hour in autumn.

Juncker wanted to end the practice in 2019, but faced pushback from lawmakers and EU capitals who argued that more time and preparation were needed. Farmers worry the change will have a disruptive effect on livestock, while financial service companies, airlines and train operators fret about the impact on computer systems and schedules.

Meanwhile, Labour MEP Alex Mayer said in plenary that the UK should opt for “Double British Summertime,” which would mean pushing the clock forward by two hours during the summer. That would result in more sunlight in the evenings and reduce the amount of road deaths, she said.