Yvette Estermann, a member of the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP), is leading a campaign to collect 100,000 signatures for a referendum aimed at switching Switzerland to permanent winter time, also known as normal time, according to the newspaper Le Matin.
When Swiss clocks are set to winter time the sun is at its highest point at around 12:30 throughout the year. The same celestial point on summer time occurs at 13:30, which is too late according to Armin Capaul, the farmer behind the cow horn vote. He thinks summer time messes up the farm work schedule.
In August 2018, after a public consultation, where 84% of the 4.6 million people surveyed across the EU called for an end to daylight savings, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said millions “believe that in future, summer time should be year-round, and that’s what will happen”.
According to the consultation, permanent summertime was the most popular choice across the EU with 56% opting for it. Only 32% preferred permanent winter time. However, these percentages varied by nation. Portugal was the most enthusiastic about permanent summer time (79%), while in Finland this idea only appealed to a minority (32%). In Finland, the most popular choice was permanent winter time (48%). Switzerland’s neighbours: Italy (54%), Germany (54%), France (51%) and Austria (63%), all had majorities favouring permanent summer time.
A consultation paper recommends letting each country decide whether to go for permanent summer or winter time, although it warns that uncoordinated time changes could cause economic harm.
According to one study, previous concerns regarding disrupted biorhythm of animals and changing milking schedules due to the time switch appear to have largely disappeared due to the deployment of new equipment, artificial lighting and automated technologies. An extra daylight-hour during summer can also be an advantage allowing extended working hours for outdoor activities, such as working in fields and harvesting.
In Switzerland, the tussle over whether to choose permanent summer or permanent winter time (normal time) has begun.