EU to stop changing the clocks, Juncker pledges

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the EU plans to get rid of the switch between summer and winter time. The decision came after a majority of surveyed EU citizens said it should be abolished.

Switching the clocks by an hour between summer and winter time may soon be a thing of the past in the European Union, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker announced on Friday.

He said that the decision was taken after a vast majority of EU citizens — primarily from Germany — who took part in a survey on the issue called for an end to biannual clock changes.

Massive support for halting daylight saving time

  • Over 80 percent of respondents supported abolishing changing the clocks in summer and winter in a survey that ran between July 4 and August 16, according to media reports on the results.
  • Some 4.6 million people took part in the online survey, making it the largest one in EU history.
  • The survey particularly struck a chord with Germans, with three million taking part.
Infografik Zeitzonen EU EN

'The people want it, we'll do it'

Speaking to German public broadcaster ZDF, Juncker said that he would push for the changing of clocks to be abolished and that the Commission "will decide on it today."

"We carried out a survey, millions responded and believe that in future, summer time should be year-round, and that's what will happen," Juncker told ZDF, adding: "The people want it, we'll do it."

Christian Lindner, the head of Germany's business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP), welcomed Juncker's support of the measure.

"Good news that the clock changes will finally be abolished — it was annoying," Lindner wrote on Twitter.

In February, the FDP proposed a motion in the EU parliament to end daylight saving time, arguing that the time change should have made better use of daylight.

Learning German

Zeitumstellung

This is what happened every in March and October — and might disappear in the future if the EU agrees on the measure: Zeitumstellung, or time change. Even if it feels horrible to give up an hour of sleep, keep in mind you'll get it back in the fall. Zeitumstellung at least gives a feeling of power — even if we are all bound by time, twice a year we act like we can change it.

Learning German

Zeitschrift

Many other German expressions integrate "Zeit," the word for time. A "Zeitschrift" — literally, time writing, is simply a magazine. Whether it includes political discourse or scantily clad women (now with nipples covered), theoretically a magazine should keep up with the times.

Learning German

Zeitgeist

While Zeitgeist can also be used in English, its direct translation — time spirit — conjures up images of Charles Dickens' Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. Referring to the philosophical idea that each era is characterized by particular ways of thinking, the concept of Zeitgeist dates back to 18th-century philosophers and is often associated with Johann Gottfried Herder.

Learning German

Mahlzeit

Like time itself, food is elementary to the human existence. A "Mahlzeit" simply means "meal time," and can refer to breakfast, lunch or dinner. But it's also used to wish someone else the maximum amount of pleasure while eating. Next time you see a friend chomping down on a sandwich, you can say, "Mahlzeit!"

Learning German

Hochzeit

It's often referred to as the happiest day of your life. In German, it's also a "high time" — a "Hochzeit." Who isn't high on adrenaline and emotion on that day of all days, on which your credit card debt reaches an all-time high? And for some impatient mother-in-laws, it certainly may be "high time" for that son to finally get hitched.

Learning German

Sauregurkenzeit

It's "pickle time!" I'll have a BLT and some chips with that pickle, please... Actually the term "Sauregurkenzeit" originally, in the 18th century, referred to periods when little food was available. Now, it's used during the summer when everyone's on vacation, politics comes to a standstill, the streets are empty, and things get quiet. Pickle anyone?

Learning German

Zeitgenosse

While "Genosse" means "comrade" and has a communist after-taste, a "Zeitgenosse" is anyone who lives at the same time you do: a contemporary. Just think: You are a "Zeitgenosse" of Angela Merkel, Heidi Klum and Cristiano Ronaldo. Your co-worker may not cheer, though, if you tell him he's your "time comrade."

Learning German

Zeitgefühl

German often has a single word for a concept English needs a phrase to express. "Zeitgefühl" is your sense of time — something that suffers when you're concentrating on an important project, staring into the eyes of your sweetheart, or changing the clocks back for daylight savings. Your Zeitgefühl may say it's 8:00 am, but it's really only 7:00. So go back to sleep already!

Controversial clock changes: Those who support daylight saving time argue that the longer hours of daylight in the summer helps to save energy and boost productivity. Opponents argue that it can be difficult to adapt to the change and that it has short-term negative impacts on people's health. The European Commission also found that there are only minimal energy savings from the time changes.

The EU's March-October switch: Several of the EU's member states have had daylight saving time for decades. The EU issued a series of directives starting in 1981 to govern clock changes across the bloc. Member states are currently obliged to move the clock forward by one hour in March and back one hour in October.

What happens next: Those who are looking forward to future undisturbed sleep will have to wait a while longer. The European Commission, the EU's top executive body, will need to agree on the measure and put forward a draft law on abolishing daylight saving time. The EU Parliament and the bloc's currently 28 Member States would also then need to approve the measure.

The Commission is set to release the official results of the online poll, which experienced several technical problems due to the high level of interest when it was first launched online.

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Germany Today | 28.03.2014

Daylight Saving Time

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