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Clocks move forward next weekend

Clocks move forward next weekend

Press release 28.03.2019 14.39 fi sv en

Summer-time, or daylight saving time, begins next weekend, in the night between Saturday and Sunday. The clocks will be turned forward one hour on Sunday, 31 March, at 03.00.

Summer-time will end on Sunday, 27 October, at 04.00 when the clocks are set back by one hour.

So summer-time lasts for around seven months and winter-time five months of the year.  

Finland has observed summer-time since 1981. Before that an experiment on summer-time arrangements was carried out in 1942.  Since 1996 Finland has observed the common EU practice of bi-annual clock changes.

EU is making preparations for the abandonment of time changes

An initiative to discontinue the clock changes was brought for EU decision making by Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland Anne Berner in 2018.

As a result, the European Commission carried out an extensive public consultation on the matter.  The topic attracted a lot of interest and generated 4.6 million replies. The majority of the respondents were in favour of discontinuing the clock changes.

In September 2018, the Commission put forward a proposal on discontinuing seasonal changes of time in all EU Member States. According to the original proposal by the Commission, the summer-time arrangements would have been discontinued already this year.

In December 2018, Austria, which was holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, said that Member States will need more time to process the matter.  A new preliminary target for the abandonment is 2021.

Next, a decision on ending the summer-time arrangements needs to be made at the EU level. After that each Member State can decide at the national level which time zone it will adopt. The EU will draft a directive according to which each Member State will amend its national legislation.

If the Directive is adopted, it will be a joint decision by the EU Parliament and Council. Only after that it will nationally implemented in each EU Member State.

The work on the Directive progressed on 26 March 2019 as the European Parliament voted on discontinuing seasonal changes of time. The Parliament adopted the proposal by a clear majority. In the next stage, the matter will return from the Parliament to the Council. The Parliament and Council will decide on the matter together.

Majority of Finns in favour of abandoning the summer-time arrangements

In Finland, people’s opinions on abandoning summer-time arrangements were asked in autumn 2018 in a poll as well as in a web survey and consultation that were available on the Otakantaa.fi site.

The choice of winter-time as the permanent standard time was slightly more popular than summer-time. The majority of Finns would like to abandon the seasonal changes of time.

The abandonment gained a lot of popularity also in the round of consultation. The stakeholders brought forward opinions in favour of both winter and summer time as the permanent standard time.

Making the winter-time as the permanent standard time was justified with health impacts and the functioning of the securities market. Permanent summer-time was considered to have a positive effect on traffic safety and encourage more physical activity in the evenings.

Finally, for the EU negotiations the Government provisionally concluded that winter-time be the best option for Finland’s permanent standard time. 

What next?

The Directive proposal discontinuing seasonal changes of time will be considered at EU level by the current holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Romania. 

Finland will promote the matter during its Presidency of the Council of the EU, beginning on 1 July 2019.

At the moment, EU Member States are considering the proposal at national level. In some countries, national studies on the matter have already been completed or are currently being made. 

At the moment, it seems that time changes could be abandoned in 2021. However, the schedule may change as the process continues.

Inquiries:

Maria Rautavirta, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 718 5975, Twitter: @mrautavirta

Oskari Stenius, Coordinator, tel. +358 50 574 4876