Spaniards awoke this morning to another hour in bed thanks to the clocks going back by an hour in line with Europe’s daylight saving time in which all countries change their clocks back one hour the last weekend in October and forward again on the last weekend of March.
The Spanish local time was set in 1940 having previously been in line with the same time as the Greenwich Meridian time (GMT) which had been established at the International Meridian Conference in 1884, to determine “a meridian to be employed as a common zero of longitude and standard of time reckoning throughout the world”.
Spain is geographically located in the local time zone UTC/GMT+1, like most of Europe, except for the United Kingdom, Ireland and Portugal, which remain in UTC/GMT+0.
At Spain’s latitude, the number of sunlight hours is almost consistent throughout the country, around 10 in winter and 14 in summer, although sunrise and sunset do not occur at the same time in the east and west, with more than one hour’s difference possible between the two extremes of the Peninsula. The Galician city of Vigo the European city with the latest sunset.
In 2018, the then President of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker announced European Directive 2000/84/EC to abolish daylight saving time after an EU wide online survey which showed that the majority of Europeans are in favour of staying permanently on “summer time”.
In fact the 2018 survey, the largest of it´s kind and with a participation of more than 4.6 million citizens from across the European Union found that over 80% were in favour of doing away with these time changes.
In March, 2019, the European Parliament approved the motion to take the decision in 2021.
The proposals have generated extensive debate in Spain. The government set up a committee, made up of leading professionals from all sectors affected. Its goal was to analyse the factors for and against changing the clocks, as well as the impact that would be caused by a decision to permanently adopt one or the other of the two alternatives.
The results of this analysis will be taken into consideration by the government when reaching a decision on the local time zone that Spain adopts which is expected in early 2021.
However in a recent survey carried out by the Centre for Sociological Research (Spanish acronym: CIS) in November of last year, 65% of the participants were in favour of continuing with daylight saving time.