Norway likely to drop standard time

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The Norwegian government will more than likely follow the European Union’s decision on Tuesday to stop alternating between standard- and daylight savings time. Trade Minister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen thinks most Norwegians will prefer staying on daylight savings time year-round.

Trade Minister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen of the Conservative Party has been dubbed “time minister” as well, since he’ll be responsible for any time change. PHOTO: NFD

“I must admit that I think its just fine to stop changing the time on the clocks,” Isaksen told newspaper VG after a majority of EU members clearly felt the same.

“Since we had children, who are now age two and four, it’s become more of a disruption,” Isaksen added. “We manage, but it’s not optimal when you’re trying to get children to sleep and not wake up too early.”

The European Parliament voted on the EU Commission’s proposal to stop alternating between what’s mostly called “winter time” and “summer time” in Norway. The majority decison to go along will take affect from 2021. It will be up to each individual member country, however, to decide whether they want to maintain winter- or summer time, which is one hour ahead.

“I think it would be strange if we continue to change the clock when the EU stops,” Isaksen told VG. “As a matter of policy I don’t have any strong opinions about it, but it will be natural to see what they do in Europe and in our neighbouring Scandinavian countries.” Both Denmark and Sweden are members of the EU, while Norway is not.

Norwegians will be making the switch to summer/daylight savings time this weekend, when the sun will rise and set an hour later beginning on March 31. They’ve been systematically “springing ahead in spring” since 1996, by moving clocks forward an hour on the last Sunday in March, and setting them back againg in the fall on the last Sunday in October.

Isaksen said he didn’t have any strong opinion about which time Norway should settle on, but he suspects the vast majority of Norwegians will favour summer (daylight savings) time. That would help extend some daylight on winter afternoons when darkness now falls by 3pm in December in Oslo and much earlier farther north, where it also can be dark most of the day. Winter mornings, however, will be even darker, but some argue energy savings can increase with more daylight in the afternoons and evenings when more people are up and active.

Isaksen he didn’t have any preference himself, “but ‘summer time’ sounds nicer, so I’m certain it will be most popular.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund