At Lithuanian demand last Thursday (21 December), discussions will start with the EU about whether daylight saving is “still relevant”. The country’s PM agrees the measure’s time has passed.
Lithuania said Thursday that it would push the European Union to abolish its law on Daylight Saving Time (DST). This measure also known as summer time in some countries, is the practice of advancing clocks close to the start of spring and adjust them backward in the autumn to standard time so that evening daylight lasts longer.
“The government decided to initiate discussions within the EU about whether the directive is still relevant,” said Deividas Matulionis, adviser to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis. Many indeed think it is a needless complication. A recent opinion poll showed that 79 percent of the 2.8 million people in Lithuania were against the bi-annual ritual.
Earlier this month, two Irish MEPs also called for the end of DST. Sean Kelly and Deirdre Clune argued “turning clocks back leads to an awful lot of difficulties, for light sleepers and many others”. They added “it takes people with autism weeks to adapt to the new time”.
Lithuania’s foreign and communication ministers will soon start consultations with the EU executive and member states. Senior politicians in fellow EU states Finland, Poland and Sweden have also criticised DST. The European Commission said it was “currently examining the summertime question based on all available evidence”.
DST first was proposed by William Willett to the British Parliament in 1907 as a way to take full advantage of the day’s light. Germany was the first country to implement it. The measure is more than 110 years old, and yet its origin and effects remain misunderstood.
So, what’s the point? Is more vitamin D better for your health? DST proponents say it helps reducing the number of road accidents brings economic benefits due to people spending more time outside and increases energy efficiency as we use less artificial light – although those three arguments are often contested.
But does Daylight Saving Time actually make a real difference? Evidence suggests that the answer is no. For instance, in 2000 the Australian government extended DST by two months in order to accommodate the Sydney Olympic Games. A study at UC Berkeley published shortly after showed that the move failed to reduce electricity demand at all.