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Permanent winter time the best option for Finland

Permanent winter time the best option for Finland

Press release 01.02.2019 12.46 fi sv en

According to the Government’s initial position during the EU negotiations, winter time will be the best option for Finland’s permanent standard time. (Photo: LVM/Shutterstock)

Finland supports scrapping seasonal daylight saving. According to the Government’s initial position during the EU negotiations, winter time will be the best option for Finland’s permanent standard time.

- The drafting of Finland’s position has involved an extensive consultation of citizens, businesses and other stakeholders. The consultation has brought forward opinions in favour of both winter and summer time, says Minister Anne Berner.

- Finns and other EU citizens have sent a remarkably clear message: the practice of changing the clocks should be discontinued, Minister Berner notes.

The adoption of winter time as the permanent standard time is supported by public health benefits. With permanent winter time, between the end of March and the end of October evenings would be darker than at the moment, which would prevent sleep pattern disruptions and sleep disorders.

Permanent winter time is also considered the better option for the securities market, as the shortest possible time difference with the rest of Europe would facilitate business relationships. Then again, permanent summer time is considered to have a positive effect on traffic safety and encourage more physical activity in the evenings.                         

Finland’s position on the Commission’s proposal has been drafted by the Government and considered by the sub-committees that support the drafting of EU law.

Finland’s permanent standard time cannot be chosen before the European Parliament and the Council have decided to abolish daylight saving.

The scrapping of daylight saving will have to be a shared decision. That would be the only way to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market and smooth flow of transport, Minister Berner says.

What next?

On 12 September 2018, the European Commission proposed that the practice of daylight saving be ended in 2019. According to the Commission proposal, the bi-annual clock changes would end everywhere in the European Union. The proposal is based on Finland’s initiative.

As the previous Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Austria drew up a progress report on the proposal, which was discussed at the Transport Council’s meeting in Brussels on 3 December 2018. The progress report noted that the Member States will need time for the proposal to abandon seasonal time changes to be discussed at the national level.

The Commission urged the Member States to continue the drafting of their national reports and hold unofficial discussions with their neighbouring countries. With such discussions, the Member States seek to avoid fragmentation of time zones in Europe. Currently, it seems that daylight saving would be scrapped no earlier than in 2021, instead of 2019 as the Commission proposes.

The European Parliament and the Council will continue to process the proposal during Romania’s Presidency in the first half of 2019. Finland cannot make a decision on abandoning time changes at the national level; the matter must be decided on by the EU.

If a decision is reached to end daylight saving, the permanent standard time in Finland will be decided by Parliament.

Inquiries:

Laura Vilkkonen, Director-General, tel. +358 40 500 0817
Maria Rautavirta, Director of Unit, tel. +358 718 5975 (from 3.2.2019)

[Translation error in the fifth paragraph corrected on 11.2.2019]