Clocks in Bulgaria go back an hour at 4am on October 27, to 3am, in what may be one of the final phases of twice-yearly time changes in European Union countries.
By popular vote, the system of time changes in the EU is set to end, by current plans, in 2021 – delayed from an initial proposal that would have seen the system ended by precisely this Sunday, the last of October 2019.
But, according to a report by Bulgarian National Radio, a spokesperson for the European Commission said on October 24 that negotiations on ending the twice-annual changes in time had “stalled” among leaders of EU countries.
If EU countries make progress in the negotiations, it is envisaged to refer the matter to the European Parliament, which, in principle, agrees with the EC’s initial proposal to stop the clock changes.
Only when this decision is taken will the new time zones be delineated because some EU countries will prefer to keep “astronomical” time forever, while others will choose “summer”.
The choice of individual countries was determined by polls, which showed, for example, that the majority in Bulgaria would prefer permanent “summer” time, while the majority in Belgium prefer “winter”. If these wishes are implemented, the time difference between Bulgaria and Belgium would increase from one hour, as now, to two hours.
In the EU, initial plans had been that the October 2019 change would be the final one and the system would be scrapped. The plan was EU member states wishing to permanently switch back to wintertime would make one last seasonal clock change on October 27 2019, after which further changes would no longer be possible.
However, in March 2019, the European Parliament agreed to a proposal by the European Commission that EU countries would decide whether to continue with twice-a-year clock changes, in March and October, or stay permanently with summer or winter time, and that these changes would take place by 2021, not in 2019.
EU countries should inform the European Commission of their decision by April 2020, and the idea is that there should be co-ordination with the EC to prevent disruption of the functioning of the single market.
(Photo: (c) Clive Leviev-Sawyer)