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End Of Time Change? EU Lawmakers Nix Clock Shifts From 2021

Since 1996, all EU countries have changed their times simultaneously. (illustrative photo)

EU lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on March 26 to abolish the practice of seasonal time change across the bloc in 2021 -- two years later than initially proposed by the EU executive.

Clocks are currently being moved forward by an hour in spring then back again in the fall. Many member states instituted the practice during the 1970s oil crisis to save energy. Since 1996, all EU countries have changed their times simultaneously.

The European Parliament voted 410-192 to end the practice of seasonal time shifts. However, lawmakers haven't ruled on whether summer or winter time should be adopted. The proposal now goes to EU member states for further negotiations.

The European Commission in September proposed scrapping the time change after an EU-wide opinion survey showed a large majority -- 84 percent -- in favor of doing so.

If the original proposal had passed, clocks would have been set forward for the last time this week, with member states then choosing whether to stick to permanent summer time or switch back in October to permanent winter time.

A parliamentary report said scientific studies link time changes to various diseases while no notable energy savings are made anymore as new technologies make inroads and new ways of living are being adopted.

The practice is also observed in the United States, where legislators have tried unsuccessfully to abolish it.

Russia in 2011 switched to permanent summer time, then shifted to permanent winter time in 2014 after public complaints.

With the exception of Europe and North America, most other countries do not adjust their clocks.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Ap, and dpa