Baltic, neighbouring ministers undecided on summer, winter time choice

Representatives of the transport ministries of the Baltic states, Finland and Poland who met in Tallinn on Monday were of differing opinions regarding whether to remain in summer or winter time once the practice of changing the clocks twice per year comes to an end. A recent survey indicates that more than half of Estonians would prefer permanent summer time.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland jointly acknowledged that the agreement to end the practice of changing the clocks in the EU requires much more cooperation, noting that there currently isn’t a sufficient majority among member states to quickly  abandon the practice, spokespeople for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications said following Monday’s meeting.

According to the ministry, however, Monday’s meeting was not aimed at agreeing on what time should be in effect from Helsinki to Warsaw.

The EU has decided to end the practice of adjusting the clocks every spring and autumn, but has currently left it up to member states themselves to decide respectively whether they would prefer to remain on summer time or winter tie. Estonia’s decision has been made difficult by the fact that, despite all being located geographically in the same time zone, Finland, the country’s northern neighbour, favours winter time, while the remaining Baltics would prefer to remain on summer time.

The practice of changing the clocks twice per year is to continue through spring 2021, as EU states will not be able to reach an agreement on the details of the change before then, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has previously explained.

The transport ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania traditionally meet on an annual basis. This time, however, Finland and Poland were involved in the meeting as well.

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