As the time approaches for clocks to change to winter time, here’s the reason why we’re still changing them, despite a decision to end it.

After conducting a public consultation, the European Commission recommended in September 2018 to abolish the seasonal time change in 2019. However, both the Member States and Parliament considered this deadline too short, postponing the end of the time change in the European Union to 2021.

The measure leaves each country the choice of opting to stay in winter or summer time. As for which time Belgium will settle upon, that is still up for debate. The Belgian prime minister has already made it clear the Benelux three will keep the same time “Come what may”.

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If Belgium opts for summer time, it will still have four more time changes, while if the country favours winter time, citizens will still have to adjust their watches three more times.

As for how citizens feel, a poll reported by VRT shows:

83% of Belgium is in favour of abolishing time changes, 50% to Central European Time (CET) all year round, 45% want Central European Summer Time (CEST).

52% of Flanders supports CET versus 47% of Wallonia and 51% of Brussels.

49% of Wallonia wants CEST all year round like 43% of Flanders and 42% of Brussels.

Seasonal time change – introduced in the 1970s with the aim of limiting the consumption of artificial lighting – has faced criticism in recent years.

In particular, it is said to have negative health effects, such as mini “jetlags” (jetlag syndrome), which particularly affect children and the elderly. Critics also cite an increased number of traffic accidents due to reduced visibility and fatigue.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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