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Finland faces setback in push to abolish Daylight Saving Time

Finnish MEPs in particular had thrown their weight behind the proposal to pull the plug on Daylight Saving Time.

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Image: AOP

A proposal to abandon Daylight Saving Time was defeated in a vote in the European Parliament on Thursday.

However MEPs have called on the European Commission to investigate the possible impact of giving up the practice of changing the clocks in the spring and autumn, and to propose changes to the practice if needed. The Parliament’s resolution does not obligate the Commission to take any action.

The vote was reportedly the first time that the European Parliament adopted a position on DST. However potentially making changes to the current system requires a report from the European Commission. The motion that MEPs voted on called for an end to Daylight Saving Time without a the required input from the Commission.

Finland must "get to work"

“This was a more cautious outcome. Now we need the Finnish government to get to work to ensure that the investigation begins, at least in the next 18 months,” said Social Democratic Party MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri.

Finnish MEPs in particular had thrown their weight behind the proposal to pull the plug on Daylight Saving Time. The discussion that took place on Thursday over the motion raised the issue of the health implications of changing the clocks.

“This has now initiated discussion. This debate has not taken place in many EU countries,” Kumpula-Natri observed.

The EU Commissioner responsible for such matters, Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, said she did not anticipate a great deal of discussion on the proposal, but stressed that the issue should be resolved at the EU level.

“I can see that this is an important issue for you and for the people you represent,” Bulc said following the plenary session.

In January, the Finnish government indicated that it would lobby the EU to give up Daylight Savings Time. So far, Poland and Estonia support the move. If the motion mobilises the support of a qualified majority of member states, then the Commission will have to act accordingly.

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