After the debate and postponements, the decision on the end of these changes may arrive in 2021. Until then, you have to set the clock back again.
It is a ritual that we perform every year, twice every 365 days in fact, and yet we still manage, sometimes, to forget. Therefore, there is nothing like the gift to mark on your calendar, calendar or mobile phone, which at dawn next Sunday, October 25, will have to delay all the clocks by one hour. Although most phones, computers and other devices do, be sure to adjust everything that is operated manually.
Thus, Portugal enters the legal time of winter – and this time nobody celebrates the extra hour of sleep, since 2020 is being so complicated that on social networks there are those who call for an end to the change (so that the year does not save time). Jokes aside, now as in recent times, the question remains: until when will the time change?
In recent years, this tradition has been the subject of study and of the most lively debate on the subject of which there is memory. The decisions have been postponed but it seems that for now, and until at least 2021, the time is yet to change. In the spring for summer time for sure; in autumn, for winter time it is still uncertain.
“On the last Sunday in March 2021, the change for another hour is maintained. The change may or may not be made on the last Sunday of October 2021 ”explains Suzana Ferreira, an astronomer at the Lisbon Astronomical Observatory, to NiT. From that moment on “you are always in zone 0 or zone +1 in Portugal and Madeira. In the Azores, it should be in zone 0 or zone -1 ”.
This depends on the decisions taken until then: there are still no certainties, because Portugal has not decided – and neither has Europe, but we will get there. “According to this decision, you may have to subtract an hour, or not,” next fall, the astronomer said.
For now, at dawn on October 25, 2020 (Sunday), the time really changes and in mainland Portugal and in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, at two o’clock in the morning we delay the clock 60 minutes, moving to one o’clock in the morning. In the Autonomous Region of the Azores, the change will be made at one o’clock in the morning on Sunday, October 25th, passing to midnight on the same day.
As for the announced end of all this, the story started in 2018, when the President of the European Commission revealed his plan to abolish the change of clocks after an online survey showed that Europeans are in favor of staying in “summer time” .
In 2019, the European parliament voted in favor of this measure, the end of the changes twice a year; and defined that the new regime would come into force in 2021. Portugal had, like other member states, until the deadline of April 1, 2020 to decide if it wanted to remain in zone 0 (UTC) or zone +1 (UTC + 1 ), but the deadline has passed. Earlier this year, the mandatory decision was postponed until 2021 to allow all governments to have time to decide which time zone they wanted to stay in.
Only, in fact, none of this is yet certain. According to the Lisbon Observatory, “the information available is that although the European Parliament has approved the European Commission’s proposal and has set a deadline for the decisions of each country, the European Council has not yet reached a consensus on the topic”. The agreement of the two bodies is necessary for the measure to proceed. Thus, the European Council’s resolution is awaited.
According to the Spanish newspaper “TheLocalEs”, European nations must communicate whether they choose summer or winter time, by March 2021 at the latest. If they choose the first option, the last time change may occur in March 2021; while the clock will be changed to the last time in October 2021 in nations that decide to stay with winter. All according to what the Lisbon Observatory said.
However, to be even more confused, “National Geographic” says it may not be so. The magazine spoke to Johan Danielsson, a Swedish deputy and the European Parliament’s main negotiator on this issue. He explained that, until member states finalize their position, it is difficult to predict when the permanent time zone might begin.
“As the main negotiator in the parliament [europeu], I continue to press to continue the work on this proposal and for the Council to reach an agreement ”, he told the publication. “The issue of seasonal time changes is a big topic in Germany, and they took over the presidency of the Council on July 1, so I hope they continue to work on this proposal,” he stresses.
Even with the decision made, it may take some time for the change to begin. “Even though parliament has a position to stop the seasonal time change until autumn 2021, we need to have a final decision at least 18 months before the time change stops, in order to avoid unnecessary chaos and disruptions in the internal market ”Says the deputy. That is, in practice, if it happens, the end of the time change should only be effective in 2022 or 2023.
Why do we do it?
The idea of changing the clock is to maximize sunlight during hours of human activity, as the days start to grow in the spring and then decrease in the fall. But the benefits of this change are controversial and have been the subject of many theories.
In a mega survey carried out by the European Union in 2018, 84 percent of about 4.6 million respondents were in favor of ending the clock changes. This was what led European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to ask that the system be discarded.
Passing the choice to each country, it is unknown what will happen. Most have not yet formally positioned themselves, but at the end of 2018 the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, expressed Portugal’s intention to simply maintain the change, twice a year – Greece and the United Kingdom also wanted everything as it is.
Costa cited at the time the Lisbon Astronomical Observatory, which has recommended that in Portugal we must maintain this bi-hourly regime, with one summer and one winter hour.
This organization argues that the end of this rotation does not make much sense, at least for Portugal, for two reasons. On the one hand, considering that the survey carried out by Brussels is not representative. And also because Portugal has already tested several times to end the time change – in several years, at the beginning of the century, it tried to keep the winter one and, according to OAL documents, between 1967 and 1975 it tried to keep the summer one. He ended up always changing.
On the side of those who argue that stopping the clocks, the arguments presented are that several studies show that the alteration may have effects on health or on the immune system. More recent arguments, especially in favor of permanent summer time, are that more light at the end of the day, throughout the year if winter time does not arrive, encourages the act of being outdoors and even shopping; and that there are evaluations that show that children are more active in summer time and that their health would improve without switching to winter.
How it all began
This routine, which has been part of several countries all over the world, started over 100 years ago. According to a study conducted by the Assembly of the European Union in October 2017, the initial idea came from a British builder named William Willett, who in 1907 wrote a pamphlet called “The Waste of Daylight”.
The practice itself was only adopted by Germany in 1916, and other European countries, as well as the United States, followed suit to save energy in view of the energy crisis they were going through during the First World War (1914-1918).
There are currently three time zones in the EU: Western European Time, which includes the United Kingdom, Portugal and Ireland; Central European Time, which includes Spain, Germany and Italy; and Eastern European Time, which includes Greece, Finland and Romania.
Countries like Russia, Turkey and Iceland have already abolished the practice. In Portugal, the time change was first adopted on April 30, 1916, in the middle of the First World War, in order to minimize the use of artificial lighting, and thus contribute to save fuel for the war effort.
While Europe is debating and analyzing the situation, in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro arrived and changed. In April 2019, the Brazilian president signed a decree law that ended this ritual. Daylight saving time, adopted in 1931, was thus eliminated. The argument is that the time change, created to save energy, no longer makes sense today, but the measure has been contested in some regions.
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