Wednesday, April 17

In silence, the Government has just given up the debate on the end of the time change

Today the Official State Gazette has published all the dates related to the change to summer time from this 2022 to 2026. Although, as we will see, it has its explanation, it is still surprising: The European Commission had not decided to kill the change of hour? Hadn’t the European Parliament approved it? Didn’t we have a commission working on it?

Since 2002, the time change is permanent. Between 1981 and 2001, the European Commission defined the dates of the time change through successive directives, but with the new millennium (and under the conviction that the change was something immovable) it proceeded to make it permanent. In Spain, this became official with Royal Decree 236/2002.

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From then on, “the summer time period begins in Spain on the last Sunday of the month of March of each year, at two in the morning (one in the Canary Islands), when the official time time is advanced sixty minutes; and which ends on the last Sunday of October of each year at three in the morning (two in the morning in the Canary Islands), at which time the official Spanish time is delayed by sixty minutes”.

Why is it published now? Although it is not necessary, both the Directive and the Royal Decree established that the Government must publish for information purposes the dates related to time changes in periods of five years. The last time it was done was in February 2017 so it was already time. However, as the publication of this calendar (which, as I say, is done throughout the Union) coincided with the unofficial deadline that the community institutions had given themselves to resolve the “end” of the time change, all eyes expected that this time would come to find out what situation we were in.

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And the situation is clear: We are as we were. As the Government itself recognizes in the BOE, since 2018, the end of said schedule has been debated, but the issue is at a standstill. It is not only that Europe (largely due to the pandemic, but not only) has forgotten about the issue, it is that the same experts from the Government commission advise against any change (be it time, be it zone) until there is a broad social debate and all citizens know the advantages and disadvantages.

Has the ‘end’ of the time change died? It seems that way, at least for now. We already knew that this debate had gained media traction due to the confluence of two factors: the interest of the northern European countries and the opportunity that the Commission saw to reduce community legislation in a context of increasing Euroscepticism. Both situations have been slowed down by the course of events. It would not be unusual for the debate to come back to the table in the not too distant future. Although, yes, the context after these years of intense changes will be completely different.

Image | Sarah Le

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