European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc on Friday announced that the EU will stop the twice-yearly changing of clocks across the continent in October 2019.
The practice, which was used as a means to conserve energy during the World Wars as well as the oil crises of the 1970s, became law across the bloc in 1996.
All EU countries are required to move forward by an hour on the last Sunday of March and back by an hour on the final Sunday in October.
Bulc said EU member states would have until April 2019 to decide whether they would permanently remain on summer or winter time.
Read more: Summertime: What a joke!
What time is it in Brussels?
Bulc said she was counting on member states and the European Parliament to keep pace with the Commission's "ambitious" schedule. She also noted the need to find consensus among the member states in order to avoid confusing time jumps.
The plan also raises the prospect of neighboring countries ending up an hour apart.
"In order to maintain a harmonised approach we are encouraging consultations at national levels to ensure a coordinated approach of all member states," Bulc said.
The decision to tackle the issue was prompted after the Commission launched an online survey. Some 4.6 million Europeans answered the survey — three million of those respondents were from Germany — with 80 percent of them voting to scrap the practice.
Though critics say that is only a small percentage of the bloc's population, the European Commission argues it is doing what voters expect of it: dealing with big issues.
Health problems and little savings
Those who oppose daylight savings say that it has become obsolete thanks to other more efficient energy-saving technologies such as LED lights. "We are clearly headed toward smart cities, smart buildings and smart solutions which will bring much more savings than changes of the clock," said Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic.
Critics have also cited long-term health problems, sleep-related issues and the reduced concentration that often accompanies the twice-yearly change. Proponents of daylight savings have long argued that it benefits public safety as well as saving energy.
Merkel is a fan
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is in favor of the move, telling German public broadcaster ZDF: "The people want it, so we will do it." And German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently spoke on the topic during a trip to Nigeria, saying: "I personally think it's a very high priority."
Europe's most famous clock tower stands in London. Big Ben is only the nickname of the tower, because it is actually called Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben correctly refers to only the largest and heaviest of the five bells. The "Voice of Britain" tune played by the bells usually chimes every hour. The next few years, however, the bells remain silent, because the tower is being renovated.
The world time clock on Alexanderplatz is of a more recent model. It was designed in East German times by industrial designer Erich John and in 1969 presented to the public. Since then it has become a popular meeting place for Berliners and tourists. At the top is a simplified model of our solar system and the cylinder below shows the time in the 24 time zones of the earth.
A less well-known but all the more interesting clock is located in Berlin's Europa-Center. The 13 meter (43 ft.) high chronometer from 1982 covers three floors. Here you can watch the flow of time. The level of green liquid in the large spheres on the left shows the hours, the small spheres on the right the minutes.
The Astronomical Clock at Prague Town Hall from 1410 is a masterpiece of Gothic technology. According to legend, after completion the eyes of the builder were plucked out so that the watch would remain unique in the world. And it is unique! At present, however, it is being renovated, visitors have to forego the play of figures representing the twelve apostles until the end of October 2018.
When it comes to clocks, Switzerland is a must. The Zytgogge, the clock tower from 1530, is the landmark of the capital Bern. On the hour tourists can always watch the game of figures depicting the golden hour beater, the cock and Chronos, the god of time.
This masterpiece of the Renaissance inside Strasbourg Cathedral was also built by Swiss clockmakers. The figures start moving every day at 12.30 pm. The apostles and the four ages, personified as children, juveniles, adults and the elderly. They all pass by death.
Cuckoo clocks alongside Bollenhut red bobble hat and cherry and chocolate gateau are the symbols of the Black Forest in southern Germany. So it is no wonder that the world's largest cuckoo clock can be found here in Triberg. The movement alone weighs six tons! The cuckoo is impressive - to the full and half hour the 4.5 meter big wooden bird calls from its window on the first floor.
Two or three times a day, the glockenspiel figures make their big appearance at Munich City Hall. The life-size figures depict two events from Munich's city history: the wedding of Duke Wilhelm V. in 1568 and the cooper's dance depicting their defiance after a devastating plague epidemic. As historic as the glockenspiel is, it is operated with solar energy in a very modern way.
Vienna's best-known clock adorns a small bridge between the two parts of the Anker-Hof building on the Hohe Markt square. The clock was designed by the Art Nouveau painter Franz Matsch. Within twelve hours twelve copper figures from Vienna's history cross the bridge. At 12 noon accompanied by music all the figures parade, among them Empress Maria Theresia and composer Joseph von Haydn.
In Austria, this clock is also famous, the Clock Tower of Graz, located on the Schlossberg, visible from afar. Its special feature is that the hour and minute hands are reversed. Originally there was only one large hand for the hours, so that it could be seen from a distance. Later, the small minute hand was added.
The Astronomical Clock on St Mark's Square displays not just the time, but also the current zodiac sign as well as the phases of the moon and the sun. Until the last restoration in 1998, the "Temperatore", the tower guard, lived in the tower with his family. Since 2006, the clock has been digitally monitored.
This is not a real clock, but the dragon heads in the French city of Blois still keep time. Every half hour they appear at the windows and move in a terrifying way. Behind the façade is a museum that provides a glimpse into the history of magic, because the father of modern magic, Robert-Houdin, was once born in Blois.
js/rt (dpa, Reuters)
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