Winter 2021 time change: what date and when will it end?

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Judit Llordes
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We will soon be switching to winter time and this new time change will not be the last. The vote of the European Parliament in favor of the end of this practice has still not been recorded by the Council of the EU which has the last word. What's really going on? We will explain everything to you.

The end of October rhymes with the transition to winter time. Despite the end of the time change announced a few years ago, habits should not change immediately. However, in March 2019, the European Parliament adopted a directive for the abolition of the time change in 2021. Each state had the freedom to retain summer or winter time.



We have expired and nothing has changed. And for good reason, there is still a problem of harmonization of hours at member state level. For the Council of the EU, this harmonization is essential for the application of the directive. Discussions still need to be conducted in this direction. But the Covid-19 has been there and this subject has left the list of priorities.

Time change date 2021: when do we switch to winter time?

The next move to winter time will be on Sunday, October 31, 2021. It will be on the night of Saturday October 30 to Sunday October 31, 2021 to be more precise. We'll have to turn the clock back an hour… you know the song. At 3am, it will actually be 2am.

The trick to knowing whether to move forward or backward is very simple. It is mnemonic: each year, we switch to summer time at the end of March. The following month is that ofAVril: so we have to put the clock forward one hour. The transition to winter time takes place in OctoberRE. So we have to go back an hour.



When will the time change end?

Will the change to winter time 2021 be the last time change in Spain? The answer is no… Already because the Spaniards have chosen to keep summer time. The summer change of March 2021 was therefore supposed to sound the death knell for this controversial habit. It all started with a proposal from the European Commission supported by a public consultation in July 2018.

The result was clear: 84% of Europeans were in favor of abolishing the time change. The European Parliament finally adopted a directive in March 2019. MEPs thus set the end of the time change at 2021, thus amending the initial proposal which suggested a deletion from 2019.

It must be said that in the meantime, during a meeting of transport ministers organized in Austria, the latter agreed that 2021 was a more reasonable deadline. The European Parliament left the choice to each Member State to choose the time that suited it. In Spain, the National Assembly carried out a poll from February 4 to March 3, 2019.

Spaniards don't like winter time

More than 2 million Spaniards responded to the public consultation and 83,71% were in favor of abolishing the time change. 59,17% of respondents answered that they preferred to stay on summer time. If everything had gone as planned, Sunday March 28, 2021 was to mark the last time change in France.

Only, the Council of the EU must still validate the directive of the European Parliament. States had to put in place a coordination mechanism to harmonize time choices. Indeed, too great a disparity would negatively affect the single market, particularly in the field of transport. Discussions within the Council have not progressed for months.



The last exchanges date back to December 2, 2019, the fault of Covid-19 which upset the priorities. Waiting for, the end of the time change will probably be postponed to 2022 at the earliest.


What is the origin of the time change?

First introduced during the First World War in 1916, the time change had an economic purpose. Need to reduce energy waste while lighting was one of the most important energy consumption items at the time. The idea was to take advantage of one more hour of natural sunshine in the evening in summer.

The system was abandoned for the first time in 1945 at the end of the Second World War. In 1976, it made its appearance again in Spain following the oil shock of 1973, under the impetus of the government of Jacques Chirac. Lighting was still largely based on very energy-hungry incandescent lamps. In 1998, the time change was harmonized throughout the European Union.

Why is this habit so controversial?

The real savings induced by the time change have always been subject to debate, and this, from the beginning. The question of its relevance arises all the more today as energy-saving lighting devices (LED bulbs, disappearance of filament lamps, etc.) have become the norm in recent decades. However, this habit has persisted over time.


Rest, studies have shown that the practice has adverse health effects. In the spring in particular, the upheaval in sleep habits would increase the severity and the number of heart attacks up to a week after the time change.



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