When and why do the clocks change in Spain this autumn?
Date and time

When and why do the clocks change in Spain this autumn?

The clocks go back by one hour at this time of year and then it gets dark earlier



Wednesday, 25 October 2023, 13:10

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With the arrival of autumn also comes the change of time in order to gain daylight hours and comply with energy savings. Although both the European Parliament and the Commission have declared themselves in favour of eliminating time changes in the future, there is still no definitive decision on the matter. Therefore, as confirmed by Spain's IGN national geographic institute, the traditional time change on the last Sunday in October will remain in force for 2023.

This year the it will be on Sunday 29 October. Therefore, at 3am mainland time in Spain the clocks will be put back one hour to 2am. In the Canary Islands, 2am will be changed to 1am.

Early autumn is the time of year when the length of the day shortens most rapidly. At Spanish mainland latitudes, the sun rises more than a minute later in the morning than the previous day and sets more than a minute earlier in the evening. As a result, at the beginning of autumn, the time the sun is above the horizon decreases by almost three minutes each day.

EU directive

The change in the hour is part of EU Directive 200/84CE, which also establishes when the clocks will go forward again in late March. This is obligatory in all EU countries and the aim is to save energy and make the best use of natural light. In 1999 the European Commission argued that the measure benefits sectors such as transport and communications and is also advantageous in terms of road safety, working conditions, health, tourism and leisure.

Then in 2018 the same institution held a public survey among all EU citizens in which more than 80% of the 4.6 million who responded were in favour of doing away with the changes to the hour. The Commission then proposed that the hour should remain the same all year, but a lack of consensus among EU states and the studies into the impact of the measure meant the decision was delayed until 2021.

However, nothing was done about it last year either, and so here we are again, about to change the hour and try to adjust to the difference accordingly.

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