Europe

Spain considers time zone change to boost productivity

Clocks showing different time zones
Image caption Spain is currently on Central European summer time (GMT+2)

Spanish MPs are to consider changing time zones by an hour after a report said this would improve eating, sleeping and working habits.

The document by a parliamentary commission said that "Spain for more than 71 years has not been in the correct time zone".

In 1942, the Spanish dictator General Franco moved Spain onto Central European Time to follow Nazi Germany.

The report says Spain should be in the same time zone as the UK and Portugal.

Spain - on the western edge of Europe - is currently one hour ahead of GMT during the winter and two hours ahead in the summer.

'Bringing into line'

"We sleep almost an hour less than the World Health Organization recommends,'' the commission said.

"All this has a negative effect on productivity, absenteeism, stress, accidents and school drop-out rates.''

It said that following the "wrong clock" explained why Spaniards tended to eat, leave work and go to bed later than their European neighbours.

"Our timetable is determined more by the sun than by the clock. We eat at one o'clock in the afternoon and dine at eight, according to the sun, but the clock says it is three o'clock and 10 o'clock," the text said.

It added that jumping back an hour would bring Spain "into line with Europe in many respects in which we currently differ".

Should Spain change time zones? Your thoughts:

You can change the hours to Pacific Standard Time and it still won't matter. The Spanish will always find a way to work less, eat later, party harder. They have built a culture and a reputation around their ungodly hours. And I hardly doubt they will change their lifestyle, and the tourism it generates, because of a technicality. Javier Brias, Madrid

I am a Spaniard living in Catalonia, but my mother was born in the Canary Islands. In the Canary Islands the time zone is the same as in London or Lisbon, but despite that we cannot say there is a significant difference in the productivity, absenteeism or stress of Canary Islanders in comparison with people on the peninsula. I don't think a change in our time zone would make a difference in our lives or our productivity rates. Nayra MarchÃin, Barcelona

We live according to the sun, not the clock. Lola Hidalgo Calle, Seville

I live just south of Castellon, which has a roadside marker pointing out the exact spot where it aligns with Greenwich. So, if the east coast of Spain coincides with London it makes perfect sense that the time be in line with Britain, Ireland and Portugal. Kieran McGrath, Valencia

Spanish culture, like every other, is not governed by time zones. It is governed by tradition, their age-old normal way of doing things. This report is nonsense. People eat, sleep and work according to the clock on their wall or the watch on their wrist. They do not eat one hour earlier in winter. God save us from so-called "experts". Eric Jackson, Villar del Arzobispo

I lived much of my childhood in Franco's Spain and farmed in Mallorca in the 1980s - and I never noticed any problem with the time zone. John Bartram, Broadstairs, UK

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