The European Commission has launched a public poll on whether its biannual daylight saving rules should be scrapped for good. Citizens can decide whether they want to stick with the current directive, or choose another set of rules to follow year-round rather than switching them up for the seasons.
For the 28 European countries who recognize daylight saving time, clocks go forward one hour in the summer, and back again in the winter. This squeezes extra evening daylight during the warmer months and extra morning daylight when it chills.
There’s been a slew of academic research surrounding daylight saving. Critics argue that switching up the clocks drives up electricity demand and disrupts human’s delicate circadian rhythms, leading to long-term health problems. Supporters, meanwhile, argue that streets are safer due to DST; a 2014 survey found that the overwhelming majority of EU’s states were happy with the annual time changes.
Not all of Europe is on board with daylight saving
Still, there are those that aren’t. Earlier this year, Finland gathered more than 70,000 signatures from its citizens asking for Europe to abolish their rules. It makes sense that Finlanders would be irritated by daylight saving as they don’t benefit much from it: for people in the northernmost part of the country, sun doesn’t fully set for weeks during the summer, and doesn’t rise for week during the winter. However, all EU members must follow the same timetable to keep trade and travel running smoothly between the “internal market,” so even though Finland rallied hard, it was unable to enforce any change.
Finland’s move did manage to spark a debate in the Parliament this past February about whether the current daylight saving rules should be overthrown — and depending on how the survey rolls out, the public might be able to add to the ongoing discourse.
The survey is open to all European citizens until August 16th. And it looks like it’s going to be a popular debate, as the servers appear to be down just hours after the poll went live.