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Europeans turn back clocks, perhaps for last time

October 25, 2020

Germany, as well as the rest of the EU, has switched to winter time for perhaps the final time. The EU voted to abolish the practice of daylight saving time in 2021, but concrete plans on what comes next remain elusive.

Art installation featuring clocks in Dusseldorf
Image: Ina Fassbender/AFP

Germans got an extra hour of sleep on Sunday as clocks switched back an hour at 3 a.m., in a decadeslong tradition aimed at gaining an extra hour of sunlight in the morning.

Germany introduced the switch between summer and winter time in 1980, following the global oil crisis. The idea was that it would save energy by maximizing sunlight hours, though its impact has been debatable. Nevertheless, Germans have been changing their clocks in October and March ever since.

Read moreOpinion: A timeless Europe

EU to abolish practice next year?

The practice, which is currently regulated across the European Union, has grown increasingly unpopular over the years. Critics say switching clocks disrupts biorhythms in humans and livestock alike, leading to health problems.

In 2018, an EU poll indicated overwhelming support for ending daylight saving time altogether. A year later, the European Parliament voted to abolish it by 2021.

The decision left it up to EU member states to decide whether to stick to the twice-yearly change, but there is no uniform position on whether the bloc should adopt summer or winter time. With 2021 just around the corner, no concrete plans on how to implement the EU's decision have been made since last year's vote.

Will Sunday be the last time Europeans turn back the clocks? Only time will tell.

Read more:Berlin and Beyond: Time for eternal winter 

dr/sms (KNA, dpa, AFP)