what date and when will it end?

Summer time is approaching. It will then be necessary to move the hands forward one hour (i.e. one hour less sleep during this night). The time change was originally motivated by energy conservation, but a vote by the members of the European Parliament in 2019 marked the end for 2021. Except that the Covid has been there and the European Council has still not ratified it.

Summer 2021 time change
Source: Pexel

The transition to summer time is approaching. On the weekend of March 25-26, get ready to move your clocks forward one hour: on Sunday, March 26 at 2 a.m. we will switch to daylight saving time. Here’s everything you need to know about the time change.

Summer time change date 2023

Switch to summer time 2021
On March 26, 2023, you should move the hands of your clocks forward one hour in the same direction as in this illustration / Credit: Phonandroid.com

The next time change that will bring us DST falls on Sunday, March 26, 2023. More precisely in the night of Saturday 25 to Sunday 26 March. At 02:00 in the early morning it is 03:00.

Since 1996, the time change dates have been the same throughout the European Union. We are therefore switching to summer time simultaneously in the 27 Member States on the same day at the same time. They agreed to change the time twice a year, with a fixed transition to summer time since the last Sunday in March. The changeover time, 02:00 on a Sunday, has been chosen to minimize the risk of transport and telecommunication disruptions.

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Why are we changing the clock?

In France, the first switch to summer time took place on June 14, 1916, and lasted until 1945 at the end of World War II, when we returned to constant time. The idea is initially to reduce energy waste at a time when lighting is one of the most important energy consumption items. By going back or forward an hour, it is therefore possible to vary lighting needs, especially in offices and companies with legal opening and closing times.

The return of the change of time took place in 1976, in the aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis. Public and private lighting was then still mainly based on very energy-consuming light bulbs. But despite the recovery, and the transition to more energy-efficient appliances (LED lighting, the disappearance of incandescent light bulbs and energy consumption indices for a wide variety of appliances), the time change has continued. And it was even harmonized in the European Union in the early 2000s.

However, according to a study by ADEME, the more the use of products and devices with high energy efficiency, the less the benefits of the device are real. The agency notes that savings are still being made on lighting, which are limited. A joint study with EDF, ADEME and the Ministry of Industry concluded that summer time saved 0.015% of total energy consumption in 2014. In other words, not much.

Is the change of time bad for your health?

This is a recurring criticism of the time change: it would be bad for your health. Several recent studies show that moving the clock forward in the spring can temporarily shorten sleep time. This would increase the number and severity of heart attacks for at least seven days after the time change. In addition, there would be more work and traffic accidents.

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In France, the return to winter time leads to a peak in the number of accidents for about a week, especially at the end of the day when the excess number of accidents rises to +47% for pedestrians. Apart from that, it creates problems in telecommunications and international transport. So it has been doubted for a long time.

So estimated a report submitted to the Senate in 1997 “the announced or expected benefits of the semi-annual time change are not significant enough to offset the disadvantages felt by the population”. The question of its abolition has been regularly on the table for several years.

When does the end of time change?

Between September 2018 and March 2019, a major public consultation asked Europeans to vote for or against the change of time. This consultation resulted in a veritable plebiscite for abolishing the time change twice a year. For example, the French consultation received 2,103,999 responses with “83.71% of respondents [qui se sont prononcés ] to put an end to the change of time twice a year”.

Similar consultations elsewhere yielded overwhelmingly similar results. The question was therefore examined by MEPs who decided on Tuesday 26 March 2019 to remove the season change from 2021. However, that is in the text “Member States retain the right to determine their time zone”. A majority of the French were in favor of maintaining daylight saving time.

The decision still needs to be ratified by the European Council and then transposed by the member states. Yet the health crisis has completely turned the calendar upside down. The end of the time switch is postponed and the question is no longer on the agenda. At least for now.

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