The Finnish Parliament on Friday voiced its unanimous support for a citizens’ initiative to abolish daylight savings time.
The government, however, will be unable to act on the initiative despite the overwhelming support received by the citizens’ initiative, as the biannual turning of the clocks is regulated by the European Union.
Anne Berner (Centre), the Minister of Transport and Communications, promised nevertheless to bring up the issue in her upcoming meeting with Violeta Bulc, the European Commissioner for Transport.
The Parliament expressed its support for the initiative after debating a report detailing the effects of daylight savings time drafted two weeks ago by the Parliament’s Transport and Communications Committee.
“Experts have observed fairly unanimously that the disadvantages created by the procedure are clearly greater than the advantages,” the report reads.
The European Union, the committee also acknowledged, stipulates in its directive on summer-time arrangements that no member state can decide independently on whether or not to adhere with the switch between daylight savings and standard time.
“The Transport and Communications Committee [consequently] recommends that the initiative is not approved,” it stated before urging the government lobby for abolishing daylight savings time at the EU level.
Timo Heinonen (NCP) on Friday called attention to studies indicating that the turning of the clocks has been linked to a higher incidence of cardiac arrests. A German study, he highlighted, found that the incidence of cardiac arrests increased by 27 per cent during the first week after the switch between standard and daylight savings time.
“In Finland, a similar study produced a slightly lower – but nonetheless significant – number: a 15 per cent increase,” he stated to the Parliament.
Some Members of the Parliament also took advantage of the opportunity to criticise the European Union.
Simon Elo, the chairperson of the Blue Parliamentary Group, said Finland should simply defy the directive on summer-time arrangements, estimating that such an act of defiance would unlikely have any repercussions.
“We have to have the courage to stand up for Finns because the public supports this initiative. There’s no way to break this consensus unless someone dares to act first,” he said.
Laura Huhtasaari, a deputy chairperson of the Finns Party, said: “I've said for a long time that every day brings another reason to leave the EU. The EU is reducing Finland's political latitude to decide on whether or not clocks will be turned.”
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi