Time zones of Europe:

blue Western European Time (UTC+0)
Western European Summer Time (UTC+01:00)
light blue Western European Time (UTC+0)
red Central European Time (UTC+01:00)
Central European Summer Time (UTC+02:00)
yellow Eastern European Time (UTC+02:00)
Eastern European Summer Time (UTC+03:00)
orange Kaliningrad Time (UTC+03:00)
green Moscow Time (UTC+04:00)
Light colours indicate countries that do not observe summer time: Algeria, Iceland, Russia and Tunisia.

Central European Time (CET), used in most of Europe, is one of the names of the time zone that is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)/Greenwich Mean Time, with a time offset of UTC+1/GMT+1 (in winter).

Most EU member states have adopted the use of Central European Summer Time (CEST) daylight saving time in summer, with UTC+2.

Usage[edit | edit source]

Usage in Europe[edit | edit source]

File:Točen srednjeevropski čas.jpg

Exact Central European Time on 15th meridian (Trebnje, Slovenia)

The German Empire unified its time zones in 1893, to use CET (MEZ). During the 1914-1918 war, this time was implemented in all occupied territories.

Before World War II, Lithuania used CET (MET) in the years 1920–40. In France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg CET was kept. After the war Monaco, Spain, Andorra and Gibraltar implemented CET.

Portugal used CET in the years 1966–76 and 1992–96.

Proposed adoption in the UK[edit | edit source]

The time around the world is based on Greenwich Mean Time (Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) is the same as GMT in a broad sense). From late March to late October clocks are put forward by an hour to result in British Summer Time, a change which, since 1997, has been aligned with the European Union's norms for CET and other EU time zones. Central European Time is thus always one hour ahead of British time.

Since the late 1960s, particularly since the 1990s, there have been arguments about the benefits of changing to a system based on Central European Time.

In 1968 there was a three-year experiment when the United Kingdom (and Ireland) experimentally employed British Standard Time (GMT+1) all year round; clocks were put forward in March 1968 and not put back until October 1971. This provided an opportunity to evaluate the impact of aligning with other EC countries on daylight change on a number of issues, particularly road casualties. The conclusions were not clear cut. A review of by the UK Parliament found it was impossible to quantify the most important advantages and disadvantages, and concluded that a decision on whether to retain the new system would depend on a qualitative judgment. Nor was the experiment universally popular: opponents, particularly those based in Scotland, highlighted an increased number of road accidents (many involving children walking to school) in the dark winter mornings; however, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), a strong proponent of a change to Single/Double Summer Time (SDST) in Britain, which would in effect align the UK with CET, has pointed out that this rise was more than compensated for by reductions in casualties in the evening and that, in all, 2,500 deaths and serious injuries were saved in each year of the trial period.[1][2] Nevertheless, the UK Parliament voted by a large majority to discontinue the experiment.

Benefits of a switch to CET that have been cited by RoSPA and supported by other leading organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry include not only improvements to road casualty figures but also benefits to the environment, business, tourism, leisure, health and well-being, crime and the elderly. In 2010, a Private Members' Bill tabled in the UK Parliament by Conservative Member of Parliament Rebecca Harris, which proposes a move to Single/Double Summer Time, received its first reading in the House of Commons on 3 December 2010, when the lawmakers voted by 92 to 10 in support. However, the Bill is unlikely to be passed without Government support, and at the end of the Parliamentary debate concerning the Bill the government minister responsible for this area of policy, Ed Davey, said the government opposed the Bill, because "the necessary consensus across all parts of the UK does not yet exist to justify a change, or the passing of any legislation on the matter".[3] Strong feelings for and against the proposal had been expressed in the British media, with newspapers such as the Daily Express supporting it while others, notably the Daily Mail, opposed it.

Central European Summer Time[edit | edit source]

The following countries and cities have introduced the use of Central European Summer Time between 1:00 UTC on the last Sunday of March, and 1:00 UTC on the last Sunday of October:

Other countries[edit | edit source]

For other countries see UTC+1.

Discrepancies between official CET and geographical CET[edit | edit source]

Colour Legal time vs local mean time
1 h ± 30 m behind
0 h ± 30 m
1 h ± 30 m ahead
2 h ± 30 m ahead
3 h ± 30 m ahead

European winter

European summer

Since legal, political and economic, in addition to purely physical or geographical, criteria are used in the drawing of time zones, it follows that official time zones do not precisely adhere to meridian lines. The CET (UTC+1) time zone, were it drawn by purely geographical terms, would consist of exactly the area between meridians 7°30′ E and 22°30′ E.
As a result, there are European locales that despite lying in an area with a "physical" UTC+1 time, actually use another time zone (UTC+2 in particular – there are no "physical" UTC+1 areas that employ UTC).
Conversely, there are European areas that have gone for UTC+1, even though their "physical" time zone is UTC (typically), UTC-1 (westernmost Spain), or UTC+2 (e.g. the very easternmost parts of Norway, Sweden, Poland and Serbia). On the other hand the people in Spain still have all work and meal hours one hour later than e.g. France and Germany even if they have the same time zone. Following is a list of such "incongruences":

Historically Gibraltar maintained UTC+1 all year until the opening of the land frontier with Spain in 1982 when it followed its neighbour and introduced CEST.

Areas located within UTC+1 longitudes using other time zones[edit | edit source]

Areas between 7°30′ E and 22°30′ E ("physical" UTC+1), all using UTC+2[edit | edit source]

Areas located outside UTC+1 longitudes using UTC+1 time[edit | edit source]

Areas between 22°30′ W and 7°30′ W ("physical" UTC-1)[edit | edit source]

  • The westernmost part of mainland Spain (Galicia, e.g. the city of A Coruña); Cape Finisterre and nearby points in Galicia, at 9°18′ W, are the westernmost places where CET is applied.
  • The Norwegian island of Jan Mayen lies entirely within this area and extends nearly as far west as Cape Finisterre, with its western tip at 9°5′ W and its eastern tip at 7°56′ W.

Areas between 7°30′ W and 7°30′ E ("physical" UTC)[edit | edit source]

Areas between 22°30′ E and 37°30' ("physical" UTC+2)[edit | edit source]


  • More so, there exists a "tri-zone" point (where UTC+1, UTC+2, and UTC+4 meet) at the Norway-Finland-Russia tripoint near Nautsi. This is the only "tri-zone" point within Europe. It is interesting to perform the following mental experiment when looking at this map: Go to the westernmost point of the red area (the Jäniskoski-Niskakoski area); this belongs to Russian jurisdiction, hence the time there is UTC+4 (formerly UTC+3). Then, take a northeastern (NE) direction (that is an eastwards direction); you will soon be crossing into Finnish territory, thus moving to the UTC+2 time zone. Continuing in that direction, you will eventually reach the Finland-Norway border and enter Norway, thus passing into the UTC+1 time zone. So, moving in a (north–)easterly direction, you will be moving from UTC+4 to UTC+2 to UTC+1.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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