Have your say on whether we should call time on daylight saving

The Maltese government will be consulting people before deciding what position to adopt on the European Commission’s proposal to put an end to daylight saving time across the EU

Summer time or winter time? The Maltese are being asked what they prefer if they agree with a stop to the daylight saving mechanism
Summer time or winter time? The Maltese are being asked what they prefer if they agree with a stop to the daylight saving mechanism

People will be asked whether they agree with an EU proposal to stop changing clocks twice a year before the Maltese government takes a stand on the matter.

European Affairs Minister Helena Dalli said on Monday that Cabinet had not yet discussed the issue, which is being pushed by the European Commission.

An online survey will gauge the people’s feedback on the matter.

The survey will ask whether Maltese prefer to stay with summer time all year round, or whether they prefer shifting clocks back by one hour for winter time before making the change permanent. The third option will ask whether the Maltese even want to abolish daylight saving time altogether.

The European Commission is recommending that EU member states abandon the practice of changing the clocks in spring and autumn.

A Europe-wide consultation found that 84% of EU citizens were in favour of ending the practice and sticking instead to summer time. The survey showed that 54% of Maltese were in favour of abolishing the practice.

Any change would need approval from national governments and the European parliament to become law.

Under EU legislation, citizens in all 28 EU countries have been required to move their clocks an hour forward on the last Sunday in March and switch back to winter time on the final Sunday in October.

Dalli said feedback from the Maltese public along with consultations with the private sector were extremely important. 

She stressed that if passed, this would be a European directive Malta would have to implement.

“It is important for these online consultations to happen before the Cabinet can reach a discussion on the stand it will take on the issue,” she said.

Asked whether the ministry had reached out to other Mediterranean countries on the issue, Dalli said discussions were currently underway but the ministry’s primary focus was Malta.

Those who support the daylight-saving practice argue that the longer evening daylight hours in the summer help save energy and bolster productivity.

But opponents have argued that some people cannot easily adapt to the change and feel it has a short-term negative impact on their health.

Finland, the most northerly EU state, has called for the bloc to drop the biannual switch, while Lithuania has urged a review of the system to take into account regional and geographical differences.

More in Europe