The European Union is considering ending daylight saving time after a large-scale public survey showed a clear majority opinion that it should be abolished, reports CNN.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday that 80 percent of E.U. citizens, out of the 4.6 million people who took the survey, marked that they would like to abolish daylight saving time and stick to the time used during summer.
“This debate about summertime, wintertime has been around for many years here,” Juncker said.
“Many people are contributing to this debate. We did a survey, a public survey. Millions responded and think that in the future we should have summertime all year round. So that’s what will happen. The people want this; we will do this.”
Daylight saving time was introduced in 1980 in the hopes that it would help save energy. The E.U. Commission has reported that data on whether or not the time change actually saves energy is inconclusive. However, there are studies that point towards negative health impacts from the clock changes.
E.U. countries currently set clocks forward one hour on the last Sunday of March and set them back one hour on the last Sunday of October. For daylight saving time to be abolished, the legislation must gain approval from the 28 members and the European Parliament.
The report notes Finland as being one of the countries pushing for the legislation to eliminate daylight saving time. As one of the most northern countries in Europe, Finland has argued that daylight saving time doesn’t actually save them much daylight and it actually has adverse health effects, reported Business Insider earlier this year.
Some of the health problems that are tied to daylight saving time are an increase in heart attacks, an increase in suicide, an increase in metabolic disorders, an increase in traffic accidents, a decrease in sleep quality, and a decrease in productivity, writes Business Insider. However, studies on the subject have been inconsistent.
In the Fall of 2017, 70,000 Finns signed a petition to abolish daylight saving time. Finland also shares its borders with non-EU states Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, all of which have scrapped the custom, citing health issues as the reason for their decision.
Those who support daylight saving time argue that the longer evening hours in the summer help boost productivity and save energy. Opponents say that many people have a difficult time adjusting to the time change and that it only has a short-term negative effect on their health.