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Endless summer? Italy could be changing its clocks for the last time after EU vote

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Endless summer? Italy could be changing its clocks for the last time after EU vote
MEPs voted in favour of member states staying permanently on "summer time". Photo: AFP
09:18 CET+01:00
Italy could be putting its clocks forward for the final time this week as the country decides whether to keep the practice.

MEPs on Tuesday voted 410 to 192 in favour of ending the practice of changing the clocks forward and back in spring and autumn.from 2021 onwards.

However the European parliament said it should be up to each individual member state to decide whether to stick to summer time or winter time in future.

According to the legislation passed by parliament the EU member states that decide to stay on summer time will put their clocks forward for a final time in March 2021.

And those countries that prefer to stay on winter time will put their clocks back for the final time in Autumn 2021.

Photo: AFP

The bill is now the official position of the EU parliament, however it will be up to the European Council to make a final decision on whether the clocks stop in future.

The council - which is made up by the leaders of each member state - will have to vote unanimously for the change, but may be swayed by the fact the move would be popular among Europeans.

In a Europe-wide survey last year some 80 percent of Europeans voted in favour of stopping the clock changes, with most people appearing to prefer to stay on summer time rather than winter time

"The changing of the clocks will be scrapped," European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said last year adding that the idea would be to keep the whole of Europe on "summer time" all year-round.

"The people want it, so we will do it." 

Launched by the Committee on European Affairs, this non-binding consultation "received 2,103, 999 replies between February 4th and its closure on March 3rd at midnight", the committee said.

This is an absolute record for such a consultation, the previous ones being at best tens of thousands.

Initially introduced to save electricity, Italy implemented the policy in 1966.

The change of time in summer and winter in the EU has been strongly opposed for years. Critics cite negative effects on sleep and health or road accidents, as well as the lack of real energy savings.

In Italy the clocks go forward at 2am on Sunday 31st March. 

 
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