Spain may soon have to make a decision about which time zone it wants to adopt after the EU agreed to end the practice of changing all clocks in member states twice a year. In late March, MEPs voted by 410 to 192 to scrap the spring and autumn changes, and to leave it to each to decide for themselves what is best.
Their decision has to be confirmed by the European Council made up of representatives of all states who must vote unanimously for the change to go ahead. It is thought, however, that the move is already favoured by most EU member states.
If the proposition gets the OK, the final date on which all European clocks will change simultaneously will be the last Sunday in March, 2021, when time will jump forward by one hour. Then, at the end of October, 2021, when clocks would normally go back one hour, states will be free to decide what to do.
There has been growing support in Spain, presently on GMT+1 in winter, for a move to follow the clocks in the Canary Islands, Portugal and the UK which are always one hour behind Spanish mainland time.
It was said that Franco changed peninsular Spain to GMT+1 during World War II to align with Berlin, although it has also been suggested that General de Gaulle made the decision after the war in a bid to main peace in western Europe.
Geographically, Spain should be in the same time zone as the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and a large part of France; this move is supported by Galicia in particular because of its close ties to neighbouring Portugal. On the other hand, the Balearic Islands wants to move to Central European Time (GMT+1) year round and even suggests GMT+2 in summer to allow tourists as much sunshine as possible.
Nothing is simple and clear cut when it comes to time zones. The US state pf Hawaii plus the Canadian province of Saskatchewan do not observe daylight saving, while the state of Indiana has to operate three different time arrangements because it straddles two time zones. Citizens of Arizona don’t observe daylight saving, unless they live in the Navajo Indian Reservation. Chile delayed it in 1987 when the Pope visited and in 1990 for a general election, while Antarctica is a very confusing place: Palmer Station is on Chilean time while the rest of the continent isn’t, the UK’s Rothera base does not implement daylight saving, but US Bases on New Zealand time do.
In Mexico debates raged when daylight saving was introduced 20 years ago. Top of the list of complaints was the strain it put on good marital relations. The argument went that setting the clock back caused distress among Latin lovers who are unable to engage in their mananero – literally, a morning “quickie” – because wives have to take their children to school an hour earlier …