Fact check: News reports about EU daylight savings consultation


Recently, people over the whole European Union responded to a daylight savings consultation. The main question was whether the EU should maintain the system of switching clocks twice a year for the summer daylight savings  – or just abolish it altogether.

The Guardian newspaper published an article saying more than 80 percent of the EU citizens wants to abolish the daylight savings scheme.

Público (Portuguese) stated that less than .33 percent of the Portugal voted in the referendum.

Claim: 

“More than 80% of EU citizens against biannual time changes” – Guardian

Fact check:

False. According to a press release issued by the European Commission, 84 percent of respondents(!) to the online poll are in favour of ending the bi-annual clock change. This is quite different from “more than 80% of EU citizens” as claimed by the Guardian

Claim:

“0.33% of Portuguese participated in the survey.” – Público (Portuguese)

Fact Check:

True. Portugal had a low participation rate compared to some other member states, like Germany which had 3.79 percent of their national population respond to the survey, according to the European Commission’s press release.

Roughly 4.6 million EU Citizens responded to the consultation, which is less than one percent of the population of the 513 million residents of the European Union (Eurostat). Yet this daylight-savings poll was record breaking compared to previous EU surveys (Publico, PT). 

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