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Anti-summer time petition hits target

A Citizens' Initiative to ban daylight saving time has passed the threshold for consideration by parliament, just one day after Finland put the clocks forward. The initiative is supported by the Finns Party—but will need approval from Brussels to progress.

Kuvassa havainnollistetaan kesäaikaan siirtyminen kellon viisarein. Kello kolmelta aamuyöllä kelloja siirretään tunnin verran eteenpäin.
Image: Anssi Leppänen / Yle

Many Finns are keen to see the back of daylight saving time, if a citizens' initiative on the matter is an accurate reflection of sentiment. The initiative demands that Finland stop changing the clocks in the spring and autumn, and on Monday it passed the 50,000 signatures required for consideration by parliament.

The deadline for the initiative had been 10 April. Its demands might not be met, however, as the European Union has directives on the matter and so change would have to be agrees at the European level.

Moving the clocks forward (and back) has been criticised as a factor affecting quality and quantity of sleep. It has also been criticised by the children's ombudsman, who suggested that it causes behavioural problems in children. He suggested last year that Finland switch to central European time to lessen the impact.

Finnish MEPs last year proposed abandoning summer time, which is enshrined in a 2002 EU directive. Finns Party leader Timo Soini says that his party supports abolishing summer time.

Summer time was introduced in Europe after the second world war, when the UK and West Germany implemented the change. Finland switched in 1981, and the 2002 EU directive enshrined daylight saving time as a measure beneficial to the smooth running of the single market.

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