8th EU directive, UK on CET, Port. PTA

Chris Carrier 72157.3334 at CompuServe.COM
Fri May 31 05:18:49 UTC 1996

Peter Ilieve > INTERNET:peter at aldie.co.uk wrote on the Proposal for an Eighth
European Parliament and Council Directive on Summer-Time Arrangements
>The long march towards the next, eighth, EU summer time directive has begun.
>The last directive told the Commission to produce proposals for the next
>directive by 1 Jan 96. These people have no concept of deadlines so they
>finally got around to it on 25 April. It proposes no change to the
>current rules of last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October,
Actually I would think that they should not make any formal proposals until
after 1996 Oct 27, when the first October of the EU on DST is over, to gauge
public reaction to it.  DST is a complicated subject for people who have
forgotten basic math, and the majority of the population will frequently
support a time rule change proposal until they see it implemented and they
find out that that extra hour of light in the evening results in getting up in
total darkness only AFTER the rule change is made.  A great example occurred
in the US during the winter of 1973-4, when the spring DST change was moved
from April to January 6.  Polls taken in December showed >70% of the American
public in favor of the earlier start; polls taken in late January, after three
weeks of most people getting up before nautical twilight, showed >70% in favor
of going back on standard time.
Personally, I think time zone changes are of sufficent importance that there
ought to be constitutional language requiring a public referendum in the
affected area before a change in rules is made.
>It says, as did the 7th directive, that these dates/times don't apply to
>overseas territories of the Member States.
One would hope not, as a number of such territories are tropical and have <1
hour difference between earliest and latest sunrise, or south temperate and
would be on standard time in summer and daylight time in winter.
BTW, my contacts in Australia inform me that the .au states that use DST all
used the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March, the opposite of
the EU dates.  Personally, I would be in favor of a world agreement to use the
last Sundays in March and September to go on and off; if one is going to use
DST Down Under, September to March, in the northern hemisphere, March to
September.  That would mean the time relations would only shift twice a year.
>Attached to the proposal is a report from the Commission on ..
>summer time in the EU which is interesting from a UK perspective. It seems
>to be enthusiastically in favour of what it lists as `option 2': the
>moving of the UK into the central European timezone. The effect is
>slightly spolied by prominent notes at the start and end to the effect
>that the timezone that Member States inhabit is nothing whatever to do
>with the Commission.
The UK was on European time (so-called "British Standard Time" or summer time
all year) from 1968 to 1971, and I remember the (loud and totally justified)
protest against it.  Sunrise in Scotland and parts of Ireland (the Republic
went along with the North) was delayed until >10 a.m. in winter.  I remember
one brief letter to The Times (London) which summed up the silliness of the
whole idea of putting the UK on European Time: "there are about 3,000
telephone links between Britain and the Continent.  Why do we need to get 55
million people out of bed in the dark to answer them??"
The 'option 2' proposal would in fact be worse than BST; it would be summer
time in the winter with double summer time from the last Sundays in March to
October.  The UK did this only during the shortages-of-everything-including-
energy of World War II, and even then the double summer time period was
shorter (about four months in high summer) than double summer time as Central
European Summer Time.
>The UK government still hasn't formally decided what to do about this issue.
>I am sure they just wish it would go away so they never have to decide.
Tell the Commission, in polite diplomatic language of course, to blow it out
their ear, to use a common American expression, and have the British
representatives to the Commission propose that Spain, France and Benelux go
back on GMT, which is the astronomically correct time zone for those countries
and the zone they were on pre-1940.  (Well, maybe not Benelux, as neither 0 or
15E runs through them and their standard was 15m or 20m fast on GMT 1919-39).
>With Portugal having rejoined the UK and
>Eire in the GMT zone I still can't see the UK changing.
I heard that the Portuguese equivalent of the Parent Teachers Association had
a lot to do with getting Portugal back on GMT.  Can anyone supply more details
on this?

Chris Carrier

More information about the tz mailing list