French favor summer time scheme in EU clock change debate

No annual clock changes and more daylight on winter evenings — that’s what French respondents favor in the EU’s ongoing clock change debate, according to a new survey.

In an online consultation launched by the National Assembly’s European affairs committee, 84 percent of the total 2.1 million respondents said they are in favor of scrapping the system by which clocks are changed twice a year to maximize daylight in the morning, the committee said. Most also favor switching to permanent summer time hours at 59 percent compared to 37 percent in favor of sticking to winter time hours.

In an EU-wide survey last year, 84 percent of some 4.6 million participants supported putting an end to clock changes. This prompted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to call for the system to be scrapped this year, with countries tasked with choosing between winter or summer hours.

But national EU ministers said more work needs to be done to prepare the ground for any change, and MEPs voted in a committee this week to delay the measures into the early 2020s. It now looks likely any change won’t come into force until 2021 at the earliest.

Most countries are yet to formally take a stance on whether they would opt for permanent summer or winter time. The decision will have an impact on transport timetabling, while bankers warn it could affect computer systems and farmers worry about livestock schedules.

Sabine Thillaye, the president of France’s European affairs committee and an MP from Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche party, said the response to the consultation shows the French people are engaged on the issue.

The results will be discussed by lawmakers at a committee meeting on March 12.

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