Germans Invented Daylight Saving Time—Now They’re Going to Kill It

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The FINANCIAL — Is Daylight Saving Time annoying? Millions of Germans say, ja.

The notoriously time-conscious nation is behind a new initiative from the European Parliament to end the practice of pushing clocks forward by one hour in the spring (which will occur this Sunday in Europe), and back by one hour in the fall.

On Tuesday, the Parliament voted in favor of stopping the practice by 2021, following a poll last year from the EU in which 84% of the respondents voted in favor of reverting to one time year-round. The law must now be passed by national governments.

The debate isn’t just limited to Europe. Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump endorsed ending the changing of the clocks in a tweet.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is a force behind the movement, having vowed to back the end of Daylight Saving Time in September last year, after the results of the poll were released. The survey proved it was the will of the people, he declared; “Clock-changing must stop.”

But in reality, it was mostly just the will of the Germans.

Out of 4.6 million responders to the poll, 3 million were German. (The country accounts for about one-sixth of the EU’s total population.)

But it is fitting that Germany should have a starring role in the death of Daylight Saving Time (DST), or as it’s known in Germany, sommerzeit (literally, ‘summer time’.) After all, it gave birth to the practice in the spring of 1916.

At Germany’s national metrology institute, known as the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, or PTB, the law is unlikely to cause much technical hassle. The institute is responsible for distributing the country’s so-called “legal time”—including on the two days a year when the clocks change.

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“We got the same questions from our ministry: Doesn’t [eliminating DST] save us a lot of work?” said Dr. Andreas Bausch, head of Dissemination of Time at the institute. “This saves nothing. Fifteen minutes.”

From a personal perspective, the gains are even less clear. Bausch himself responded to the EU’s poll, after his daughter told him about it. He would prefer to keep the system exactly as it is, he said, noting that the loss of DST would mean one less hour of sunlight during the dark winter evenings.

As for the unpopularity of sommerzeit in Germany, he proposed a concise theory.

For many people, he said, “complaining is an extremely important part of life.”

In the U.K., meanwhile, Daylight Saving Time’s German origins have largely gone unnoticed in favor of an even more obvious opponent: the EU as a whole.

“We’ve long been aware the EU wants too much control over our lives,” John Flack, a Conservative MP said in the Guardian after the vote was passed. “Now they want to control time itself.”

Rad full available in FORTUNE.

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