By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday proposed to end seasonal clock changes in the EU starting next year.
"We all say in soap-box speeches that we want to be big on big things and small on small things. But there is no applause when EU law dictates that Europeans have to change the clocks twice a year," Juncker was quoted as saying in a statement.
Juncker said: "Clock-changing must stop. Member states should themselves decide whether their citizens live in summer or wintertime", noting that it is a question of subsidiarity.
"I expect the Parliament and Council will share this view and find solutions that work for our internal market. We are out of time," he added.
Violeta Bulc, the commissioner for transport, said in the statement that the Commission is proposing to put an end to seasonal clock changes as of next year.
"This very ambitious timetable will allow citizens to reap the benefits without delay," Bulc said.
"We are now inviting member states and businesses to make the necessary preparations to ensure a coordinated approach across the EU," she added.
Last month, the Commission published the results of an online public survey on clock change in Europe — showing nearly 85 percent of the Europeans are in favor of putting an end to the bi-annual clock change.
According to the Commission, European countries introduced summertime arrangements in the last century to save energy, particularly in times of war or during the oil crisis of the 1970s.
"Starting in 1980, the European Union gradually adopted legislation putting an end to the diverging schedules of the national clock changes.
"In 2018 however, the purpose of clock changes has become much less relevant, with studies suggesting that energy savings are now marginal and citizens increasingly complaining about negative health impacts," it said.
The Commission's proposal will go to the European Parliament and the Council for their agreement.