(Allison Schrager/ Quartz) — Anyone who works with people in Europe probably had a chaotic week. Europeans set their clocks back an hour Sunday (Oct. 28), ending daylight saving; but no one else did, except Mexico, in an act of defiance against its northern neighbors, and a few countries in the middle east.
North Americans (except Mexicans) wasted many minutes on empty conference lines because they did not realize their European and Mexican colleagues were on a different time. And they are not the only one who wasted time and money. Airlines, a particularly time-sensitive industry, estimate juggling different time changes cost them $147 million each year. But now some relief may be in sight that will end this madness: The European Union may abolish daylight saving time changes in Europe once and for all.
The EU has seriously considered ending time changes after a survey released this summer showed more than 80% of Europeans wanted to stay on one time year round. Initially, Europeans hoped this fall would be the last time they’d fall back. But that time frame proved too ambitious (airlines, for example, need at least 18 months to prepare). If the member states do vote to end daylight saving, it won’t happen until 2021 at the earliest. The member states also must vote between keeping winter or summer hours. Deciding which time to keep could further divide southern and northern Europeans, just as they finally stopped fighting about spending and debt. (…)