The time changes were originally supposed to end in the EU in 2019, but Member States have not agreed on a single time. “Further negotiations on this issue have not continued since December 2019 and it is uncertain whether and when they will continue,” the labour ministry said in the background to the proposed regulation.
Under the existing European directive, daylight saving time in member states starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October. Under the forthcoming regulation, daylight saving time will run from 27 March to 30 October next year, 26 March to 29 October in 2023, 31 March to 27 October in 2024, 30 March to 26 October in 2025 and 29 March to 25 October in 2026.
“The uniform definition of the time period of five years in the EU member states is essential both for organisational reasons for the transit operation of transport and communications and for economic reasons for the proper functioning of the EU internal market,” the labour ministry writes.
Summer time was originally introduced in the past to reduce energy consumption. According to submissions to the government, analyses from some countries have shown that the savings are minimal. According to the European Commission’s 2007 findings, most EU countries surveyed reported that summer time had no significant impact on agriculture, transport or tourism, the authors of the regulation said.
Some experts, on the other hand, point to the impact of time shifts on human health. For example, Helena Illnerová, former chairwoman of the Czech Academy of Sciences, has researched biorhythms. She spoke about the fact that the change to daylight saving time with the “missing hour” causes problems with mental and physical performance. Some people complain of poor sleep, fatigue or nausea. It takes time to reset their internal clocks.
Most people would abolish the time changes
Three years ago, the European Commission organised a so-called public consultation and survey because of growing criticism of time changes. According to the Labour Ministry, 4.6 million responses were received. At that time, 84% of respondents were in favour of abolishing time changes. The Commission then presented a proposal for a directive that would have allowed the last time change in 2019. However, there is still no consensus on a single time.
The government is empowered by a 1946 law to issue regulations with the dates of the time change. Daylight saving time was made permanent in the then Czechoslovakia in 1979. Since then, the Cabinets have determined the start and end dates. The latest decree covers five years – from 2017 to this year.
According to a STEM/MARK poll from autumn 2018, 70 percent of Czechs surveyed agreed with the abolition of the time change. Two-thirds of people said they were not happy with the time shifts. A total of 44 percent of respondents wanted permanent daylight saving time and 24 percent wanted standard time. Experts from the Czech Academy of Sciences said at a February seminar in the Senate that winter time would be preferable for health reasons.
With daylight saving time, it would not dawn until around 9:00 a.m. in winter, and many people would not have their biological clocks aligned with that setting, which could lead to civilizational diseases, lower productivity and income, or poorer academic performance, according to scientists. Proponents of daylight saving time point out that life has changed and a large number of people no longer need to start work at dawn, but can instead use the longer daylight hours to relax and play sports after work.