EUROPEAN Union bosses could create a time border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain by forcing Belfast to adhere to a Brussels directive to abolish changing the clocks in the winter.
Under current plans, Brussels requires Northern Ireland to adhere to single market rules in order to avoid a hard border. However, this means Belfast could land in a different time zone from London.
More than 4.6 million Europeans took part in a Continent-wide consolation as part of study into whether the member states should abolish daylight saving time, creating a permanent summertime.
The consultation, which is not binding, was carried out after a request from the European Parliament for a “thorough assessment” of summer time arrangements, despite the decades-old practice of putting the clocks forward by an hour between March and October.
However, two-thirds of the replies from were from Germany – over three million, while only 41,000 French and 13,000 Britons contributed to the survey.
Although member states have sole competency over their which time zone they belong, the Commission says that the EU collectively has the right to determine whether countries make the switch to summertime.
If Brussels goes through with it could have huge implications on Northern Ireland, which under the bloc’s current plans will align with EU rules to avoid a hard border with the Republic.
This means Belfast every seven months will find itself in a different timezone from London despite remaining part of Greenwich Mean Time.
The rest of the United Kingdom would only come into sync with Northern Ireland during British Summertime because the EU directive plans to lock member states in a constant state of summertime.
European Commission officials have said it is unclear whether the directive will be included in the Irish backstop, which the EU remains intent on being included in the withdrawal agreement.
In the event Britain manages to agree a UK-wide backstop, the country would also likely have to follow the Brussels directive.
The directive has also infuriated southern states after it was largely supported by German citizens.
Ignazio Corrao, a close ally of Italian deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio, accused Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker of pandering to northern member states.
The Five Star Movement MEP said: “The proposal of daylight saving time comes from the North European countries and from Germany, this is why Juncker is so prompt!
“What’s about the management of the migration flow and the fight against poverty and social exclusion? We will seriously face the topic of abolishing daylight saving time, but only when this EU will face more important challenges too.
“It’s sad, Juncker’s Europe: it’s a theoretical Union but not a real one. Every day we feel the support of Italian citizens who are fed up with old politicians.
“Polls are in our favour. The change has just started. The upcoming European parliament’s elections are an excellent opportunity to change Europe too.”
Original Article by Joe Barnes - 31/08/2018