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France Holds Online Survey in Move Toward Ending Daylight Saving Time

(Mar. 15, 2019) Between February 4 and March 3, 2019, the French government held an online survey to determine whether the public preferred maintaining winter time or summer time all year long. The survey was held in the context of a European Union (EU) move toward ending daylight saving time. (Consultation on Time Change: the French Want to Live on Summer Time], LE FIGARO (Mar. 6, 2019) (in French).)

The European Commission held an EU-wide survey from July 4 to August 16, 2018, to gather the views of European citizens on daylight saving time. Out of the 3.8 million people who responded to the survey, 84% were in favor of abolishing the biannual time change. (Commission Staff Working Document, Public Consultation on EU Summertime Arrangements, Report of Results, at 6, SWD(2018) 406 final (Sept. 12, 2018), Eur-Lex website.) A proposed European Directive would require each Member State to declare by April 2019 whether it chooses to permanently apply summer time or winter time. (Commission Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council Discontinuing Seasonal Changes of Time and Repealing Directive 2000/84/EC, COM(2018) 639 final (Sept. 12, 2018), European Commission website.) In a meeting on December 3, 2018, the Member States’ ministers of transportation called for a little more time to coordinate these changes, with the goal of repealing the daylight saving time system in 2021. (Consultation on Time Change: the French Want to Live on Summer Time, supra.)

The French survey, which was organized by the Commission on European Affairs of the National Assembly (one of the two chambers of the French Parliament), saw the highest participation rate of any such consultation in France, with over two million responses. (Id.) The results confirmed that an overwhelming majority of respondents (83.71%) are in favor of scrapping the biannual time change, and showed that a strong majority (59.17%) are in favor of choosing summer time as the permanent standard. (2,103,999 Participants in the Citizen Consultation on Ending Time Change, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, COMMISSION ON EUROPEAN AFFAIRS (in French) (last visited Mar. 13, 2019).)

The results of this survey are not legally binding, but they will be communicated to the European Union institutions so that Member States can take them and the results of similar surveys conducted in other EU countries into account when they decide which time zone they will permanently settle on. (French in Favor of Keeping Summer Time All Year Long: What’s Next?, LCI (Mar. 7, 2019) (in French).)