The EU Internal Market Sub-Committee today publishes a report recommending the House of Lords issues a Reasoned opinion objecting, on subsidiarity grounds, to the European Commission's proposed Directive discontinuing seasonal changes of time.
The European Commission has proposed a Directive to end seasonal clock changes in the EU in 2019. Member States would be required to choose to apply 'permanent summer-time' or 'permanent winter-time'. Should the UK and EU reach an agreement according to the terms of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, the UK would be required to implement the proposed Directive during the transition period.
The Sub-Committee's report raises subsidiarity concerns in relation to:
- The proposal's limited subsidiarity statement, which cites increased questioning of the current summertime arrangements as a reason for action.
- Inadequate consideration of how the role of summertime arrangements varies between Member States due to the interplay between longitude, latitude and time zone in determining daylight hours. The geographical position of the UK, for instance, means that the benefits and drawbacks of 'permanent summer-time' or 'permanent winter-time' differ significantly between its northern and southern regions. The potential implications for the UK are exacerbated by the devolution settlement with Northern Ireland, under which time is a devolved matter.
- Inadequate evaluation of alternative options, such as the possibility of allowing Member States to choose whether or not to observe seasonal clock changes but requiring coordinated arrangements for those that do.
Chair of the EU Internal Market Sub-Committee, Lord Whitty, said:
"The European Commission's proposal to end seasonal time changes goes beyond its remit and is not in compliance with the principle of subsidiarity. We are therefore recommending that the House of Lords issues a reasoned opinion. The report will be debated on Wednesday."