Rabat – As in previous years, Morocco will have to switch to summer time (daylight saving time) in a few weeks. This decades-long tradition of switching clocks back one hour and then forward between the winter and summer months is under review by the European Parliament after several member countries urged the EU to consider abolishing the practice.
The European Parliament has backed a possible plan to end daylight saving time across the 28 member states after 384 deputies out of 549 voted in favor of the resolution, which will now be submitted for a final vote.
Daylight saving time was first adopted during the First World War in the UK to give factories more daylight hours to operate in, thereby aiding the war effort. The issue has divided MEPs within the France-based European assembly. An October 2017 EU Parliament study stated that, “while daylight-saving time benefits the transport industry, helps outdoor leisure activities and reduces energy consumption, it is associated with disruptions to the human biorhythm.”
“The lack of sleep that [the clock change] provokes for many fellow citizens poses a real problem of road safety,” said French Greens MEP Karima Delli during the debate on February 8.
“It is the cause of a large number of accidents involving the most vulnerable road users.I hereby think of pedestrians and cyclists,” she added.
However, for the Belgian MEP Hilde Vautmans, losing extra summertime light would mean “that for seven months we lose one hour of light. That would mean the end of beautiful summer evenings with friends on the terrace in the garden, of biking or jogging with therefore a lesser quality of life.”
Daylight saving time has been used in Morocco since 2008 to increase the competitiveness of the national economy by reducing the cost of the energy consumption and facilitating transactions with regional economic partners, mainly Europe. If approved, how will the possible removal of clock changes in winter and summer affect Morocco? Will the North African country follow in the footsteps of its primary economic partner or will it simply keep changing the clocks backward and forward in a ritual that many citizens believe adds no extra value to the national economy and only creates a state of confusion for people and businesses?