Presidency spokesperson expects first new Sprinter season to take place in 2014
A Temporal Seasonal Directive, under which a new season called Sprinter will be introduced so as to more closely align the seasons with the changing weather conditions, is now expected to enter into force on 31 November 2013. Sprinter will now be added into the seasonal calendar between Winter and Spring and will run from 1 February to 30 April. From 2014 onwards, Spring will therefore not begin until 1 May.
Once the legislation is adopted, relevant extracts from the EU Official Journal will be posted in wildlife sanctuaries around the world so that Europe-bound migrating birds can also be made aware of this change. April Fool’s Day will now take place on 23 March every year. Fashion houses will launch their Sprinter-Spring collections in line with the new Directive. Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons" is now to be known as “Five Seasons”. Italian restaurants are to be given a two-year transition period for modifying their famous pizzas to “Cinque Stagioni”; the exact nature of the additional ingredient involved is to be decided by member state governments.
Given divergent views between northern European member states and those closer to the Mediterranean Sea, a delicate compromise has been finalised by the Irish Presidency with member states and the European Parliament. While certain provisions of the new Directive will be frozen for northern member states, a sunset clause is to be included for those further south.
Budgetary aspects (including the link to the European Semester process) and the exact range of dates for the Sprinter season had been the two issues involving the most heated exchanges between Council and Parliament. The Presidency compromise, devised in conjunction with the European Commission, is a simple adding together of the Council's and Parliament’s respective proposals, followed by the total being divided in two.
An Irish Presidency minister, speaking from a mildly drizzly Dublin, congratulated all involved in the historic agreement.
“I warmly welcome the agreement. Tonight’s deal represents a new dawn for seasonal planning in Europe”, he said.
A Presidency spokesperson in snowy Brussels announced the core elements of the compromise last night after an 18-hour conciliations. She said:
“Thanks to a positive climate developing in the talks accompanied by a flood of mutual goodwill, the Irish Presidency successfully put forward a wave of compromise texts.”The fact that we withdrew coffee supplies from the conciliation meeting at midnight may also have had something to do with it."