EU needs more time to wind up clock change

Brussels – Any European who has been looking forward to an end to the biannual confusion on whether to move clocks forward or back one hour, will need to remain patient.

Most EU member states needed more time to get a handle on the end of clock changes, according to a document issued by the Romanian EU-presidency, Germany’s Funke media group reported Saturday.

No decision expected

EU lawmakers voted in March to scrap the changes starting in 2021. At that point member states can decide for themselves whether they want to convert to daylight saving time or standard time year-round.

Member states remain at odds over the broader issue, and their approval is needed to put it into effect.

The topic is on the agenda of Thursday’s meeting of the responsible EU transport ministers, though no decision is expected.

“Time islands”

Romania pointed out that an EU-wide approach was necessary to prevent “time-zone patchworks” and to safeguard the proper functioning of the single market. Until now, only a few member states have submitted their positions, the paper pointed out.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, who handles the issue in Germany, wrote in a letter to neighbouring countries that he also wanted to avoid “time islands.”

They should come to a joint position “after the summer break at the latest,” he wrote in the letter seen by dpa.

A harmonized approach could be reached at the next regular transport ministers’ meeting, scheduled for the end of this year, followed by negotiations with the EU Parliament.