From a health perspective, choice between summer and winter time is easy

Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva

 

The European Union has taken steps towards abandoning the biannual turning of the clocks, but what remains to be decided is whether the 28-country bloc will adopt summer or winter time on a permanent basis.

An examination of the health effects of each option would tip the scales towards winter time, says Timo Partonen, a research professor at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

“Over ten scientific articles have already been published on the topic, and their main message is that lighter mornings throughout the year are the better option,” he says. “Also research on the body’s internal clock is in line with the results, lending support to the conclusion.”

The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) has refrained from voicing its support for either of the options, reminding simply that the decision should be made and implemented uniformly across Europe.

“If we do away with the clock change, we should do it together with the rest of Europe, so that there won’t be a major hassle,” comments Mikko Räsänen, a senior adviser at EK.

Räsänen also pointed out that advances in electronic communication technologies mean that, from a business viewpoint, being on the same time zone as Central Europe is no longer necessary for Finland.

The restaurant and hospitality industry, meanwhile, would likely benefit from a permanent switch to summer time, given the light and long summer days in Finland.

The European Commission has similarly yet to shed light on its position on the question, although it is believed to be leaning towards summer time judging by the comments of Jean Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, to ZDF in late August.

Most Europeans are in favour of abolishing daylight saving, according to a non-binding consultation launched by the European Commission. Politico reported last month that some 80 per cent of the 4.6 million respondents would be willing to scrap the daylight saving regulation and stop changing their clocks twice a year.

The Finnish government has been one of the more vocal advocates of abolishing the biannual exercise.

“It is high time for us to put an end to what is an unnecessary piece of regulation. The results of studies on the clock change are clear: the change has no benefits but many drawbacks,” argues Heidi Hautala (Greens), a Vice-President of the European Parliament.

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