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Why does France still change the clocks despite EU vote against it?

Clocks go back this weekend despite a 2019 vote to abandon the system as the EU has not reached consensus on which timezone to stay in

The clocks go back to wintertime this weekend, still... Pic: Zephyr_p / Shutterstock

The European Union voted to abandon daylight savings changes in 2019 but France – and most European countries – are still set to go back to winter hours overnight this Sunday (October 31). How come?

Early this Sunday, at 03:00, clocks will go back to 02:00, giving everyone an extra hour, and beginning the winter season when it will begin to go dark earlier in the evening.

But in 2019, an EU consultation voted to abandon this change, with 84% of the 4.6 million people who responded saying they would be in favour of dropping the system.

Winter daylight savings are often associated with increased road accidents, sleep problems, and health issues. The change came into force in 1976, ostensibly to save energy.

However, studies have suggested that today, any advantages are minimal.

Yet, implementation of the vote to drop the system at EU-level has stalled, firstly because of the Covid-19 crisis, and secondly because not all member states have reached a consensus on which timezone to keep.

Countries in the north of Europe have largely said that they would like to stay in winter hours while others, including France, have said they would prefer to stay in summertime.

The change would mean that the clocks would not ‘go back’ or ‘forward’, but stay set on the same time all year round. This option means that the changing times of sunset and sunrise would not be as pronounced (compared to now, when, for example, summertime sees brighter evenings until late, and winter hours mean darkness comes quickly). 

In the meantime, however, the EU has not agreed on the next steps, meaning that we will still have to remember to make the change this weekend - thankfully most modern devices today do it for us automatically.

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Daylight clock change this weekend could be last ever

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