Time Change: Get up early for the egg hunt

The meaning and purpose of this measure has been debated over the years. Numerous studies also look at health risks; Sensitive people complain of problems such as sleep disorders and loss of appetite. Proponents of the time change, on the other hand, argue that bright winter mornings are safer, while the quality of life is higher during long summer evenings.

Efforts by the European Union to abolish it were unsuccessful, and the time change in Austria again became a political issue at the beginning of the year. The issue was debated in the National Council at the end of January, after 168,705 people signed last year's “Maintenance of Daylight Savings Time” referendum.

IMAGO/Volker Preußer

Spring-like sunrises compensate for early rising

The initiators of the poll, Doris Galbrunner and Maria Debley, justified their initiative, saying that the changes twice every year would have negative effects on the “biorhythms of humans and animals” and thereby on various tasks.

Council talks in Brussels lack consensus

In the debate, the Austrian parties seemed relatively unanimous that the issue should be discussed again in the EU. During a debate in the Economic Council in January, the main question was why the plans in Brussels – which had already become very concrete – were put on hold again. According to Verena Haberzeth of the Ministry of Climate Protection, who was involved in the negotiations at the EU level in 2018, the agreement failed because they could not reach a consensus on what timeframe they wanted to maintain.

The reliability of Member States means that more time is needed to coordinate with neighboring states and carry out national inspections. Above all, the new regulation of member states' sovereignty is in place. However, in subsequent Council Presidencies and in the Ursula van der Leyen Commission, the topic was absent from the work programme. Likewise, no impact assessment has been provided.

An EU-wide online survey as a trigger

An EU-wide online survey conducted in 2018 shows that the annual complaint has become a political issue. In this event, 84 percent of participants were in favor of ending the time change and making daylight saving time permanent. 4.6 million responses were received, most of them three million from Germany – a record, but still less than one percent of EU citizens.

The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in March 2019 to scrap the time change by 2021. The EU Commission suggested that states should instead decide for themselves whether to keep summer or standard time permanently. Still to be implemented: Necessary coordination between Member States. Since then, the EU Commission has repeated in response to seasonal demands: “The ball is now in the court of the member states.”

Three time zones from Poland to Portugal

Regardless of summer and standard time, there are three time zones in the European Union. The same time (Central European Time, CET) applies in Austria and 16 other countries – including Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Croatia, Poland and Spain.

Eight countries (Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Cyprus) are one hour ahead (Eastern European Time, OET), two countries are one hour behind (Ireland and Portugal; Western European Time (GMT)). .

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