Upcoming European elections could be an opportunity to end the clock change

  • European Parliament elections in June 2024 could be an opportunity to put the end of seasonal clock change back on the political agenda.
  • The Time Use Initiative begins a consultation process with key European stakeholders to assert the need to place the right to time on the European agenda, and to implement the proposal on the end of clock changes in the European Union, elaborated by a group of international experts and presented on October 2022.

Once again, the seasonal clock change from summer to winter schedules will have a negative impact on people’s health. This measure is an anomaly compared to other parts of the world (where only 40% of countries do so, and some, like the United States, Canada or Australia, have areas where it does not apply). Such an accumulated time unrest is mainly suffered by European citizens in general, as the International Alliance for Natural Time (IANT) study showed.

In order to address the negative effects that the seasonal change of time causes on citizens, the Time Use Initiative (TUI), in collaboration with the IANT, has initiated a process to place the right to time on the agenda of the European Union (EU) and specifically the implementation of natural time on the continent. European Parliament elections in June 2024 will be the perfect opportunity for all European political families and their representatives to take a position on the subject, after a Directive on this subject was blocked by EU Member States in 2018.

There is increasing social and scientific consensus on the suitability of aligning with natural schedules. In order for the health, efficiency and sustainability of European citizenship not to be disrupted every six months, it is necessary for EU institutions to take a clear decision. In order to ensure that such an evidence-based political initiative is taken, TUI will join efforts with civil society organisations and representatives of the medical and scientific community in a process that would culminate in early 2024 in order to call for a clear positioning of all European political parties on this issue.

Clock change, among the time policies that the EU must tackle

Implementing natural times on the continent is one of the priorities that must be addressed by European institutions in order to guarantee the right to time for all citizens. EU competences are the most appropriate for approaching specific aspects of time policies, such as those relating to consumption, transport, or energy — thus, it is necessary for European institutions to view time policies as a new area of political innovation.

It should be taken into account that such initiatives are already being implemented in Italy, France, or Spain by innovative institutions and, therefore, European institutions must accompany such countries in this process of transformation. The process of putting natural time back on the European agenda is part of a strategy that seeks to bring about a new time balance that improves the well-being of European citizens, moving towards a healthier, more egalitarian, more efficient and more sustainable society.

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