EU daylight time

Peter Ilieve peter at
Thu Apr 4 06:31:28 UTC 1996

On Apr 3,  9:51pm, Chris Carrier wrote:
> Subject: EU daylight time
> I am given to understand that the countries of the European Union
> have decided to extend their 'summer-time period' until the last
> Sunday in October.  I would like to ask:
> Can individual EU countries choose to opt out of daylight time
> entirely, as American states can opt out of DST under our own
> Uniform Time Act of 1966, as amended 1972?

I don't believe so, but I am no lawyer.

The legal authority for the summer time dates is an EC Directive. This
is supposed to have the force of law and EU member states are required
to enact national legislation to put directives into effect. Countries
are sometimes slow in doing this in other areas but I don't know of any
countries not doing so where summer time is concerned.

The process of making a directive involves the European Commission agreeing
on the terms of it. It is then put to the Council of Ministers for final
approval. Both the Commission and the Council are made up of appointees
of the national governments. The Commissioners are supposed to ignore
their contriy's national interests and work for the EU as a whole but the
Council members can and do vote on things based on their own national
interest. As a result of all this it is unlikely that a summer time directive
would emerge that any country wouldn't agree with. We are now moving towards
a system of `qualified majority voting' in the Council so in theory a country's
national interest could be out-voted, but I don't know if the summer time
directives are covered by this procedure.

Countries would not have much incentive to opt out of this summer time
end date change as a survey was conducted a few years ago as part of the
seventh EC directive setting process and it found the people of Europe
to be in favour of moving the date by a large majority.

		Peter Ilieve		peter at

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