US senators voted unanimously to keep daylight saving time only. If MPs do the same, the US could abandon a system the EU wants to get rid of, but has been pushing back against for years, without explanation.
It is one of the sea serpents of the European Union: the time change must be abolished for four years already, without the process being initiated. Since 2018, it is estimated that the time change in Europe is living its last hours. However, each time, the process is postponed.
In the United States, it could start faster. The Senate has just approved, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make it possible from next year to avoid all Americans having to go back or forward by one hour, twice a year. The United States has followed the daylight saving rule for more than a century, even though states are not required to do so (Arizona does not, for example).
The end of the time change, while keeping summer time, would make it possible to gain ” an extra hour of sunshine in winter “, has commented a senator. The bill must now be passed by US lawmakers before being signed into law by President Joe Biden.
In France, we have been changing clocks since 1976: this measure was reinstated after the oil shock of 1973 in order to save energy. The measure was supposed to be temporary… It’s been going on for 40 years.
According to a 2019 survey, the majority of French people want to stay on summer time. ” The time change is increasingly contested by citizens and its benefit is now controversial. The energy gain would now be marginal, in particular due to the generalization of low-consumption lighting “, can we read on the site vie-publique.fr.
Why is the European Union taking so long?
But then, what is happening for the European Union to take so long to implement this modification? The answer is on the side of the Council of the European Union, which gives… more news. Contacted by Numerama in March 2021, the institution had confirmed that the subject was not on the board’s agenda. Six months later, she again confirmed to us that the project was not in the plans of the rotating Presidency of the Council.
However, the European Parliament approved in 2019 the end of the time change for 2021. “ MEPs also want EU countries and the Commission to coordinate to ensure that the application of summer time in some countries and winter time in others does not disrupt the operation of the internal market “, can we read on the official website of the Parliament, which could hint at a possible explanation for this delay. It is inevitably difficult — and totally impossible in times of war — to get all the Member States to coordinate.
For the moment, it will therefore be necessary to continue with the current system: the time is changed in March (switching to summer time) and in October (switching to winter time).
If the United States changes its rule and we do not, this difference will then have to be taken into account in the way in which we count the time difference, which will not be the same between our “winter time” and our “time of summer”.