Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson (Centre), who discussed the prospect of abandoning summer time with her EU colleagues in Austria on Monday, said that a consensus has to be found in order to make a decision possible.
According to Simson, Estonia supports ending switching between summer and winter time each year. In implementing the change, however, as harmonised as possible of an approach has to be found that would not make the state of play on the European internal market unexpectedly complex.
The European Commission proposed ending the changing of clocks next year already. As several member sattes found this timeframe to be too ambitious, the Austrian presidency of the Council of the EU proposed extending this period in order to give member states more time for more in-depth domestic and regional consultations.
The Austrian presidency proposes ending the changing of clocks in 2021.
"If the changing of clocks is to be ended, the decision has to be made whether one sticks with winter time or summer time," Simson said. We are working closely with our neighbours to achieve as harmonised an approach as possible in the future. Decisions should be made on this basis in all of Europe."
Simson also had a separate one-on-one meeting with her Finnish colleague, Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner, with whom she likewise discussed the issue.
"It is importat for us to find a solution that is acceptable to the majority," the Estonian minister said. "For instance, from the viewpoint of businesses alone, it is clear that for them, the most important thing is a timezone be as uniform as possible. Finland was the initiator of said change, and it clearly supports ending the changing of clocks, and initial consultations revealed greater support for remaining in one's time zone — winter time, that is."
A public consultation recently held by the European Commission on the prospect of ending the switch to summer time, known in parts of the world as daylight saving time (DST), drew 4.6 million responses, with 84% of respondents in favour of putting an end to changing the clocks and 16% in favour of continuing the practice.
Based on the results, the Commission proposed ending the practice of changing the clock twice per year, ensuring that it would be up to each member state's own discretion to decide whether to remain in their current time zone or adopt summer time as their permanent time zone (ie current time zone +1).
Editor: Aili Vahtla