TAB report »Assessment of daylight saving time« Basis for a study by the EU Parliament and submission to the EU Commission

cover TAB-Fokus: assessment of dayalight saving time
TAB-Arbeitsbericht Nr. 162: Bilanz der Sommerzeit

On 8 February 2018, the EU Parliament called on the EU Commission to carry out a thorough evaluation of the regulation on so-called summer time (advancing the clock by one hour during the summer months) and, if necessary, to submit a proposal for amendment. Currently, EU Directive 2000/84/EC makes the application of summer time mandatory for all EU Member States. The Parliament's request is prompted, among other things, by a 2017 study by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) on the impact of biannual time changes. The report contents and summary results of the EPRS study are based in significant parts on the TAB Working Report »Assessment of daylight saving time« published at the beginning of 2016.

TAB Report No. 165 »Assessment of daylight saving time« has caused a bit of a sensation both nationally and internationally, since according to the EPRS it is considered a "milestone in the assessment of summer time" and is recommended as the starting point and substantial basis for all future studies on this topic EPRS 2017, p. 33. Since 2007, the EU Commission had not dealt with the effects of the time changeover and had not seen any reason to change the currently valid regulations. Whether this situation will now change is, however, questionable, despite the current request of the Parliament. Because of its monopoly on initiative, the EU Commission is not obliged to comply with the Parliament's request; it can also respond to such parliamentary initiatives with a negative opinion. However, if the Commission were to make a proposal to amend the Directive, a qualified majority would then be required in the Council of the EU states and subsequently also the approval of the European Parliament.

The TAB report concluded at the time that the question of whether the time changeover should be retained or abolished must ultimately be the subject of political and social debate and can only be based to a limited extent on scientific facts. For, according to current knowledge, these facts make the following clear: There are clearly no objective or relevant reasons for keeping daylight saving time. The effects on energy consumption can be either positive or negative and in most cases are very small or negligible. There is also no reliable evidence that the application of daylight saving time leads to any significant benefit or harm in the areas of business, trade, transport, logistics, services, etc. The possible effects of daylight saving time are also considered to be insignificant. Possible effects are also not communicated by the economic sectors mentioned. With regard to health aspects, there is scientific evidence that some people suffer from longer-lasting adjustment and mood disorders after the time change in spring. However, so far there is no evidence of serious negative effects on physical and mental health that can actually be attributed to the time change(s). On the other hand, from a cultural and recreational point of view, a number of arguments in favour of daylight saving time have been put forward.


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