Statements support abandoning time changes

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 11.12.2018 13.34
Press release
Clock. Illustration. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Clock. Illustration. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Ministry of Transport and Communications received a total of 24 statements in its consultation round concerning the abandonment of time changes. A citizen survey arranged via the service also elicited many free-form responses.

All of those who issued opinions supported the abandonment of time changes.

Those in favour of adopting winter time as the permanent standard based their answers on health and sleep patterns. Support for winter time was also expressed particularly in industries where work generally begins early in the morning. Permanent winter time was also considered the better option from the perspective of the securities market.

The statements in favour of adopting permanent summer time emphasised the positive impact of light evenings on traffic safety and on people's ability to engage in outdoor sports and exercise after work.

Most of the statements did not come out in favour one time zone over the other. Some statements highlighted the importance of coordinating the time zone with Finland's neighbouring countries. 

Comments from citizens emphasised exercise and health effects

The answers to the open-ended questions in the survey were analysed to reveal the topics most commonly mentioned in the responses.

A strong common theme throughout the responses was support for abandoning time changes. Moving the clocks twice a year was viewed as unnecessary and detrimental to people's wellbeing.

The words that occurred most commonly in the answers had to do with the amount of daylight on workdays. The most common arguments for both permanent winter and summer time were based on the amount of daylight. Many of the responses highlighted the effects of time changes from the perspective of working people: some respondents want more daylight before the workday, while others want more daylight hours after work.

The arguments made by those in favour of summer time referred to the importance of daylight for hobbies and wellbeing, as well as for families and children. Supporters of winter time were significantly more likely to refer to health when justifying their view.

The justifications in the answers often also expressed a desire to come up with a solution in cooperation with neighbouring countries.

The survey received almost 680,000 responses. The number of answers to the open questions was nearly 360,000. Of these, around 250,000 were submitted automatically. The automatic answers were removed before the analysis. The number of answers analysed was slightly less than 110,000. The automatic answers could be identified based on their structure.

Analysing the responses to the open questions revealed that the number of answers from "bots" in the survey data was slightly higher than in previous surveys. However, according to the analysis by the Ministry of Justice, this did not have a significant impact on the survey results.

What next?

The Commission's proposal was discussed in the meeting of the European Union Transport Council on 3 December 2018. Discussions on the proposal will continue in the European Parliament and the Council next year, during Romania's council presidency term. Finland cannot make a decision on abandoning time changes at the national level; the matter must be decided on by the EU.

The proposed Directive has been discussed in the Government's Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs and in Parliament.

Citizens and interest groups have been consulted extensively in conjunction with the preparations. The views of experts and various interest groups were gathered in a consultation round that ended on 7 November. Opinions have also been investigated through polls and in a citizen survey organised by the Ministry of Justice via the online service. 

The summary of statements and TNS Kantar Oy's analysis of the answers to the open questions are available in the Government's project information service.

Subject: The abolishment of summer time arrangements (LVM070:00/2018)


Jenni Rantio, Senior Ministerial Adviser (Ministry of Transport and Communications), tel. +358 50 524 2326

Sami Demirbas, Specialist, ( service, Ministry of Justice), tel.  +358 505209145