Juncker promises eternal summer time

EU Commission chief Juncker announced on Friday that the results of an EU-wide survey on Daylight Saving Time would be respected. More than 80 percent of the 4.6 million respondents said the time change should be scrapped. Juncker is getting ahead of himself with the move, commentators criticise.

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Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

EU indulging in risky populism

EU Commission President Juncker's initiative to abolish Daylight Saving Time in response to a survey is dangerous, the Wiener Zeitung contends:

“This online survey is simply unsuited as the basis for a democratic decision. Just imagine if Germany were given an EU-wide voting weight of two-thirds - 70 percent together with Austria - on another topic! With this time-change initiative the EU Commission has also fallen victim to the ever-present temptation of populism. But Juncker has opened a risky door: with a little imagination there are plenty of issues that could be resolved by online survey - even ones that are more explosive than just turning back the clock. Apparently a participation of 0.92 percent is all it takes to make such results legitimate.”

Le Soir (BE) /

Not the way to unite Europe

Other policy areas may have been better suited to restoring the people's faith in EU institutions, Le Soir believes:

“Doing something that everyone understands quickly and simply will not necessarily produce simplicity. If the EU does decide to scrap the switch to summer time, it will be up to each individual state to choose its time zone. That will no doubt lead to further disputes, this time on a national level. ... All this will not give us a strong, united and peaceful Europe. Yes, the EU will have fulfilled a widespread wish, and you can't knock that. But will that be enough to renew people's faith in the European project and its much-critised institutions?”

Iltalehti (FI) /

Finns need more light in the autumn

The abolishment of daylight time saving could help to give people a sense of continuity, Iltalehti finds:

“On autumn evenings in Finland it got dark very early because turning back the clock shortened the day. This made the time window when it was light outside shorter. When you're studying or working and your day begins and ends when it's dark, you really notice this. Even a change of just an hour has an impact on the human rhythm and sleep rhythm. ... And in today's hectic world it could give people a symbolic feeling of continuity to remain on the same time.”

Berliner Zeitung (DE) /

Emotions can't be set back an hour

For the Berliner Zeitung the result of the vote shows that popular sentiment regarding the time change has been underestimated:

“Decisions in favour of Daylight Saving Time have always been justified with reference to the pragmatic advantages it promised to bring. Energy conservation, political unity, not just between the Federal Republic and the GDR but across Europe. It was generally accepted that the population would put up with the emotional and physical stress that the time change admittedly brings with it. ... The clear result of the vote against Daylight Saving Time above all reflects the extent to which emotions were underestimated. It demonstrates that some political moods do not perfectly match political common sense, and ties in with the general mood of unease regarding top-down systems.”

Il Post (IT) /

North-south divide also with DST

Geographical differences also have a bearing on how inconvenient or convenient the time change is in the various countries of Europe, Il Post comments:

“The ritual of putting the clocks forward or back may seem harmless to many, nevertheless the consequences are very different from country to country. For geographic reasons the countries of Southern Europe benefit more than others. Put simply, since they're half-way between the North Pole and the Equator, the difference between how long the days are in the summer and in the winter is relatively small. Putting the clocks an hour ahead means 'lengthening' the days, which is tolerable, all thing considered. ... In the Northern European countries, by contrast, the summer days are already long since the countries lie closer to the North Pole. As a result, Daylight Saving Time accentuates a pre-existing phenomenon which already takes its toll on people's systems.”