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Clocks go back in Austria again despite EU deal on scrapping hour change

The clocks go back this weekend in Austria - despite a deal agreed in 2019 to bring to an end the changing between winter and summer time.

The clock at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris
Clocks will change this weekend in Austria. Image: Pixabay

Austria moves to winter time this weekend, with 3am on Sunday, October 30th marking the moment when clocks go back by one hour, giving most people an extra lie-in on Sunday morning.

In place in the EU since 1976 (but in Austria since 1979), the twice-yearly changing of the clocks has been controversial for some time and in 2019 lawmakers in the European Parliament voted by a large majority – 410 MEPs against 192 – in favour of stopping the changing of the hour from 2021.

READ ALSO: Discover Austria: 19 ways to make the most of autumn this year

However, following the vote, the Parliament specified that each EU member state would decide whether they would keep summer time or winter time.

The 2021 deadline to scrap the change, however, was derailed by Covid which disrupted the normal parliamentary timetables in most countries.

But as normal political life resumed after the pandemic, a further problem emerged – although EU countries agree on scrapping the hour change, they cannot agree on whether to stick with summer or winter time – Austria prefers a permanent summer time as standard time.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Is travelling to Austria this winter worth it?

Having many different EU countries in different time zones would create all sorts of practical problems for travel, business and trade, not to mention the substantial number of cross-border workers who live in one EU country and work in another.

But with the pandemic followed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and cost-of-living crisis, the hour-change has been gradually slipping further and further down the priority list of both the EU and its member states.

The text on the hour-change is not currently scheduled to be even discussed at the EU level, and it is therefore unlikely that this year’s hour change will be the last.

Member comments

  1. From a UK standpoint, why not abolish summer time and continue with historical GMT and the ball which falls at noon – all based on the zero meridian which passes through Greenwich observatory. It might seem odd that France should retain its summer timing because that would put it two hours ahead of its true midday (and of every other true hour in the day, including change of date). I suggest that “midday” or noon be the moment when the sun is at its zenith over the mid point of a country’s applicable meridian(s), allowing for time zones over oceans and large countries. Looking at the history of changing times seasonally, isn’t there quite a warlike basis for it, back to the late 1800s?

    1. Christ the Englanders aren’t satisfied with messing up our trawlermen now they want to take over our time as well.😀 Just keep it on Daylight Saving Time like we voted for or are the gammons expecting another war to start over fish.👿

      1. Bonjour Boggy, whoever you are. Let’s discuss TIME and leave Christ, “Englanders”, trawlermen and gammons out of it. Starting point which you cannot get away from: noon/midday is when the sun is at its zenith (highest point overhead) wherever you are; the rest is convenience, including important elements of practical necessity.

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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

‘Bad-tempered locals’: Vienna ranked the world’s ‘unfriendliest city’

Foreigners in Vienna say the city offers excellent health and transport benefits but has an exceptionally unfriendly population.

'Bad-tempered locals': Vienna ranked the world's 'unfriendliest city'

The Spanish port city of Valencia is the most popular city among international employees this year, followed by Dubai and Mexico City, according to the “Expat City Ranking 2022” by Internations, a network for people who live and work abroad.

The ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider study, in which almost 12,000 employees worldwide participated this year. The report offers insights into the quality of life, settling in, working, personal finances and the “Expat Basics” index, which covers digital infrastructure, administrative matters, housing and language.

Vienna ranks 27th out of 50 cities in this year’s ranking. Although it scores very well in terms of quality of life, many expats find it difficult to settle in and make friends in the Austrian capital.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: The best and worst districts to live in Vienna (as voted for by you)

Vienna ranks last in the Ease of Settling In Index and also in the Local Friendliness Subcategory. 

Nearly half the respondents in the city (46 percent) say that people are unfriendly towards foreign residents (vs 18 percent globally), and 43 percent rate the general friendliness of the population negatively (vs 17 percent globally). 

An Australian immigrant told Internations they were unhappy with the seemingly “bad tempered locals”, while a survey respondent from the UK said they struggled to get along with the “conservative Austrians” in Vienna.

Unsurprisingly, more than half of the expats in Vienna (54 percent) find it challenging to make friends with the locals (vs 37 percent globally). Moreover, around one-third (32 percent) are unhappy with their social life (vs 26 percent globally), and 27 percent do not have a personal support system in Vienna (vs 24 percent globally). 

“I really dislike the grumpiness and the unfriendliness,” said an immigrant from Sweden.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

In the Quality of Life Index, Vienna snagged first place last year, but it reached only seventh place this year. In terms of administrative matters such as getting a visa for residence, Vienna is only 38th, and the federal capital also scores poorly for cashless payment options (42nd).

Where does Vienna shine?

The Austrian city ranked particularly well in categories including Travel and Transit (first place) and Health and Well-being (second place). International employees rated the availability, cost and quality of medical care as particularly good.

“I like how much you can do here and how easy it is to get around by public transport,” said an expat from the US. 

In addition, Vienna is not particularly expensive and ranks ninth worldwide in the personal finance index. 

READ ALSO: Five unwritten rules that explain how Austria works

Vienna ranks 26th out of 50 cities in the Working Abroad Index. Sixty-eight percent of expats rate their job as secure, and two-thirds rate their work-life balance positively – compared to 59 percent and 62 percent globally. However, 23 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with their career opportunities, and a third feel that the corporate culture in Vienna lacks creativity and unconventional thinking.

In the “Expat Basics” index, international employees consider housing in Vienna particularly affordable (9th). In addition, eight out of ten find it easy to open a local bank account (vs 64 percent worldwide).

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