In September 2018, the EU Commission announced a proposal for a Directive discontinuing seasonal clock changes and repealing Directive 2000/84/EC (which previously dealt with the matter). All Member States were requested to consider whether they supported this proposal and to indicate whether they would opt for permanent summer time or winter time, initially with a 2019 deadline which was later revised to 2021.
Following a Government decision in October 2018, an Interdepartmental Steering Group was established by the Department of Justice and Equality to oversee a public consultation process and report the findings to Government. The result of this consultation showed that while a majority of respondents were in favour of discontinuing seasonal clock changes, with a preference for remaining at summer time, the overwhelming majority would not be in favour of any change that would result in two time zones on the island of Ireland.
Discussions with Member States on the proposal are ongoing via the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council. I share the concern of a number of Member States that the proposal may result in a ‘patchwork’ of time zones across the EU, causing unnecessary confusion and disruption to the Single Market. I also support the view that a full impact assessment of the proposal should be carried out.
The Government has made the Commission aware of the difficulties the proposed Directive would cause in Ireland if it were to result in two time zones on this island, and we have opposed the introduction of the proposed Directive on this basis.