With regard to the Brexit today, I was asking myself when exactly it goes into effect. It should be 31st January, 2020, 23:59:59, but which time zone?

This leads me to the question, if there is an official - or default - time zone in the EU or even worldwide when a contract states a start or end date?

Is it undefined unless the contract specifies it?

P.S.: Not sure if this is more a political question..?

1 Answer 1


Different countries are in different time zones. (Some even extend over multiple time zones, but none of the current EU states do). When it is important and not obvious, you specify the time zone.

Brexit is at 11pm in the U.K., midnight in Germany, France, Netherlands and many others, and probably 1am on Feb 1st in Greece.

For local situations, it will be the local time zone. If there’s a contract between a company and a customer in New York to do something at 3pm, with nothing else specified, nobody will get away with saying they meant Pacific Time.

  • Good info. Is the timing because the seat of the EU council is in Belgium, making the time zone that includes Belgium (Brussels specifically) the default for this event?
    – Damila
    Jan 31, 2020 at 20:16
  • Thanks for the info - however it does not quite answer my question if there is an official time (or default) zone in the EU? Can you explain what‘s your basis to say Brexit was at midnight CET?
    – not2savvy
    Feb 1, 2020 at 10:00
  • 1
    It was midnight CET because that was what was specified in the agreement. If it had not specified that, it would have been unclear. Feb 3, 2020 at 10:40

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