Clock changes tonight …

… but it won’t happen for much longer

Blog from March 2019 on clock changes in the EU
Blog from March last year

Wired Magazine reports that plans to abolish clock changes across the European Union in 2021 have been put on hold as a result of the pandemic.

In March 2019 the European Parliament approved a proposal that seasonal clock changes over the last weekend in March and October would become a thing of the past from next year, but a spokesperson for the Council of the European Union has confirmed that the move is not currently on the agenda.

Change not currently on agenda

The spokesperson says that it is very unlikely that the current German presidency of the council will resurrect the issue before its term ends in December. It is also unlikely that Portugal or Slovenia, which hold the presidency in 2021, will put the seasonal clock changes to Daylight Saving Time back on the agenda anytime soon.

That means that the UK will still switch back to GMT at 02:00 tomorrow morning. And it will keep switching between GMT and BST for some time yet. Seasonal clock changes will also still take place across Europe, with every member state making the jump at the same time to keep in sync.

Slow process, but clock changes likely to disappear

It might be a slow process, but the end of daylight savings in Europe is still likely to happen – even if it is delayed by a year or two. The 2021 deadline had been proposed back in 2018, but was never committed to by diplomats despite the proposals securing widespread approval by the European Parliament. In December 2019, when abolishing seasonal clock changes was last raised at a European Council meeting, diplomats agreed that member states needed more time to plan and prepare for such a complex switch.

If and when it does happen – and Wired believes it remains more a question of when than if – the continent-wide shift will require a lot of coordination. That is because each and every country has a big decision to make: whether to stay on summer or winter time forever. This might cause quite a bit of confusion. Portugal, for example, could decide to shift permanently to summer time but neighbouring Spain might pick winter time. As a result the two countries that occupy the Iberian Peninsula would drift an hour apart – and there may be another hour’s deifference crossing from Spain to France.

Wired concludes that with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, the complicated business of unpicking Europe’s time zones is unlikely to be put back on the agenda in 2021.

COVID-19 update for Madeira

The latest statistics are being updated on a previous post

7 thoughts on “Clock changes tonight …”

  1. Re: “ As a result the two countries that occupy the Iberian Peninsula would drift an hour apart”

    Aren’t Spain and Portugal an hour apart at the moment? (If you ignore the Canary Islands which are an hour after the Spanish mainland)

    • Yes they are. Spain used to be on the same time us Portugal and the UK. In 1942 Franco changed from GMT to Berlin time as a show of solidarity to Nazi Germany. A few years ago they considered changing back to UK/Portugal time but decided to stay the same as general Europe for trading purposes.

      It will be interesting to see what Portugal decides.

  2. Ridiculous, outdated, idea! The schoolchildren walking to school that it was supposed to protect all travel in Chelsea tractors nowadays! Sooner the unnecessarily dark evenings go the better.


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