Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever

The islands will have longer evenings during winter

The islands will have longer evenings during winter

The Balearic Islands are poised to approve a measure that will see time stand still across the archipelago, or at least will see the islands keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

MPs from all parties in the Balearic parliament support the initiative that argues that the hour change is bad for islands that depend so much on daylight.

Given their easterly location, the sun sets over the islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera almost an hour earlier than in the western most parts of Spain’s peninsula.

The motion, proposed by the left wing Més per Menorca coalition and which will be put to the vote on Tuesday, claims that the obligatory change is based on “obsolete industrial” concerns.

Instead it is now “more logical, rational and natural to make the most of resource like the sun”.

In short, more sunlight will combat insomnia and depression and encourage people to be outside more and therefore more active and healthy and will improve family life.

Forcing the islands to turn the clocks back is “detrimental to one’s health and damaging to working and family life,” according to the Illes amb Claror (Bright Islands) campaign.

Keeping summertime could also bring an economic boost, bringing more tourism during the winter months and keeping down electricity bills.

But Madrid will have the final say so over whether the Balearics can change their timezone unilaterally.

Spain’s next government may also consider shifting the nation’s timezone and bringing it line with GMT if Mariano Rajoy forms a minority government as he is expected to next week.

The Ciudadanos party, which has given its backing to Rajoy, has pledged that it will push for the nation to return to GMT arguing that it will improve productivity and prove a decisive break with the country’s Francoist past.

Despite lying far to the west of the standard Central European Time (CET) zone, Spain has been running on this time since 1942, when Spanish dictator Francisco Franco turned the clocks forward in solidarity with his allies, Nazi Germany.

Rajoy has given the nod to a change in time zone would arguably increase productivity, putting an end to Spain’s culture of long working hours, and with it the traditional two – three hour lunch break.

Published The Local 25 October 2016

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