The end of DST: how can it be placed back on the European agenda?
In 2019, the European Parliament agreed to end the biannual clock change. Nevertheless, the Member States have not been able to achieve an agreement on which time zone has to be adopted. This debate explores how can we place back the debate on the European and Member States agenda.
The debate will invite prominent activists, members of the EU institutions that defended the end of DST and chronobiology experts, such as Till Roenneberg, to discuss the key issues around the end of DST.
Afterwards, there will be a debate with the public. The event can be followed online and on-site and will be translated into English and Catalan.
Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167, 08025 Barcelona
Metro L5 Sant Pau/Dos de Maig
Event reportBackground and participants The Barcelona Time Use Initiative for a Healthy Society (BTUI) is a civil-society organisation that aims to place time at the centre of the political agenda. To do so, we work with other organisations on several commitments that have been summarised on the Barcelona Declaration for Time Policies, we organise an annual week dedicated to time policies, and we develop practical projects to change time organisation in different areas. The end of daylight saving time (DST) is one of our goals as organisation, and we seek to place it back to the European agenda, as the initiative has been frozen since the resolution taken in 2018. The event wanted to discuss how the issue could be brought back to the European agenda to implement the already taken resolution. Invited speakers included: - Maria Nikolopoulou, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee - Till Roenneberg, Chronobiologist - Ticia Luengo, Co-founder of Better Times and member of the International Alliance for Natural Time - Jordi Vaquer, Director for Global Foresight and Analysis at the Open Society Foundations (facilitator) The event was celebrated as a round table amongst the speakers, and it could be followed both on site in Barcelona and online. The full event can be reviewed here (in English): https://youtu.be/c3yFYbgyU6Q The number of participants on-site was about 50, while online the event has been streamed by more than 600 people. Registered participants included public servants from city councils and regional governments, researchers, members of civil society organisations and social stakeholders. Key takeaways Maria Nikolopoulou of the European Economic and Social Committee, has shown how Europe has promoted the project, but actions are needed from the Member States: "We have enough scientific data to address the end of the time change, but at the European level we need more time to make the decision, which involves many actors (...) We have an opportunity to bring the debate on the time change through the Citizens' Debate on the Future of Europe and also through a popular citizens' initiative". On the other hand, Ticia Luengo of the organization Better Times Platform and International Alliance for Natural Time has defended a change of strategy, which is not so much looking for European actions but to mobilize more local entities such as cities. "The vast majority has internalized the time change. It is an issue that we must address, communicating well and explaining the urgency of this situation, both to political actors and to the general population". Finally, Till Roenneberg, one of the world leaders in chronobiology, spoke of the negative impact on health of living in a time zone that is not aligned with the same biological clocks and the need to change terminology when talking about the subject: "The transition cost of implementing this model is minimal and the human benefits are high (...) we say that the time change is a cultural issue, but it is simply biology". Conclusions There is an agreement that the benefits of ending DST surpass the negative externalities. Most experts agree that the correct time zone should be that which is most aligned to the natural light of the sun (where 12 noon coincides with the highest point of the sun). Challenges to implement the initiative remain in two fronts: 1) Agree on the correct time zone for each member state, that guarantees the single market union and is the most beneficial possible from a chronobiological point of view. 2) Give enough time to design and implement a transition plan that ensures a coordinated and uneventful change towards the decided new time zones. Member States remain the key actors to make the end of DST possible.
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