Summertime Saga

How many EU residents have said they want to abolish summertime?

In fact, it was 84% of the 4.6 million respondents who said so. But Germany accounted for 70% of all replies in the one-month consultation.

The total is "less than one per cent of the population of the 513 million residents of the European Union (Eurostat)", Wikitribune points out.

The most in favour of abolishing daylight saving in summer were from countries whose respondents were less than 1% of the population.

"The majority of all respondents (84%) are in favour of abolishing the biannual time switch," the EU reported.

"In absolute figures, 70% of the replies (3.1 million) came from Germany, followed by France (8.6%; 393 000) and Austria (6%; 259 000). Other countries whose replies represent more than 1% of the total are Poland, Spain, Czech Republic, Belgium, Finland and Sweden.

"Comparing the number of respondents per Member State with the size of the population it shows that the highest response rates came from Germany (almost 4% of population), followed by Austria (close to 3%) and Luxembourg (close to 2%). In the rest of the Member States, less than 1% of the population replied".

"More than 90% of citizen’s replies from Finland (95%), Poland (95%), Spain (93%), Lithuania (91%), and Hungary (90%) are in favour of abolishing the current arrangement."

EU source

Wikitribune asked "How many really want it gone? The answer was: very few.

Announcing his recommendation for a directive recommending an end to daylight saving in summer, Jean-Claude Junker apparently told the German broadcaster ZDF: "I will recommend to the commission that, if you ask the citizens, then you have to do what the citizens say."

The EU reported: "On 12 September 2018, the Commission presented a proposal to end seasonal time changes in 2019 throughout the EU, while leaving Member States the freedom to decide their standard time."

Despite this option allowing states to decide whether to apply summertime permanently on their own while others choose "wintertime", the Commission argued in its proposal for a directive by the European Parliament and the Ministerial Council: "The Commission considers it necessary to continue safeguarding the proper functioning of the internal market through a harmonised scheme applicable to all Member States."

There are currently three standard times in the EU.

The Euractiv news site reported on 30 August 2018: "will say goodbye to daylight saving time on 28 October", which in view of the text seems hardly exact. The text in the report said: "All signs point towards the EU now putting a stop to changing the clocks."

Other sites that inaccurately reported the survey results were politico ("80 percent of EU citizens want to scrap daylight savings: report"). It is common for news organizations to tag a source onto their declarations so that they can can claim it is true.

Quartz, as quoted by Google's Search Results, said "EU citizens voted to abolish daylight saving time in a landslide". But the link takes you to a story titled "The EU is ditching daylight saving time because it’s what the people want" - also not true.

Moral: don't trust the headline.


Spoiler alert: Quartz had earlier published a commentary headed "Time to wake up: Daylight saving time is dangerous and unnecessary" (9 March 2018).