Europe eyes end to winter-summer clock changes by 2021

Strasbourg (France) (AFP) –


European lawmakers voted Tuesday to back an end to the annual changing of clocks in spring and autumn by 2021.

If the draft law is approved by the EU executive and member states, countries will decide whether to remain permanently on what is now summer or winter time.

After 2021 the twice annual ritual of moving clocks back or forward by an hour will be over -- as many fed-up European voters have demanded.

Following pressure from a citizens' initiative, notably in Germany, the European Commission initially proposed to end daylight savings time from this year.

But concerns were raised that a confusing patchwork of timezones would be created if some states opted to remain on "summer time" and some on "winter time".

"Therefore we're waiting for member states to coordinate their decisions," warned Swedish MEP Marita Ulvskog, who is guiding the reform through the legislature.

These decisions will not now come into effect before 2021 after the European Parliament voted by 410 votes to 192 to push back the timetable.

In the meantime, the European Council -- which represents member states -- and experts from the European Commission will discuss the text with lawmakers.