Spain contemplates return to Greenwich Mean Time

Also introducing new measures to lure businesses from London post-Brexit...

Spain contemplates return to Greenwich Mean Time

Picture by PA PA Archive/PA Images

It pushed its clocks forward an hour under the Franco regime back in 1940 in order to sync up with Hitler's Germany, but now Spain is looking at a return to Greenwich Mean Time.

Spanish labour minister Fátima Báñez told her parliament that the government is examining the impact of a move from Central European Time to GMT.

Spain is currently the most westerly country that uses CET, and it's thought that reverting to the old time would help workers make an earlier start in the morning.

The Telegraph reports that this week's official sunrise time is as late as 8.56am in Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Spain's westernmost region, Galicia, meaning children start their school day in darkness. The Canary Islands already use GMT.

José Luis Casero, president of the National Commission for the Rationalisation of Spanish Schedules, welcomed the move to strike at “the heart of the question of Spain’s late-hours culture in which prime time on the television runs from 10pm to midnight”.

He suggested the change should take place in either March 2017 or 2018, when Spain would also comply with a European directive in putting clocks forward an hour, thus landing on British Summer Time rather than Central European Summer Time.

“There would be no disruption or confusion for citizens under this route map,” he said.

Minister Báñez said she also hopes to strike a deal with employers and unions so that “the typical working day in Spain ends at 6pm”, with the aim of creating a better work-family balance.

Businesses typically open late in the morning and close during the middle of the day for a prolonged work break, meaning that parents return to their jobs and continue to work into the evening.

Brexit opportunities

In other Spanish business news, Madrid is eyeing London jobs as new measures are introduced to lure companies in the post-Brexit climate.

According to Business Insider, these include allowing firms to submit all of their documents in English, fast-tracking authorisation for financial companies looking to relocate, as well as promising tat it will not impose any regulatory requirements beyond EU statements.

Spain's financial watchdog, the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV), said in a statement:

"In this context, the CNMV is ready to welcome UK-based financial institutions that wish to locate their business in Spain as a result of Brexit." It added that it was "determined to contribute to making Spain the most appealing option for investment firms considering a move from the UK to another EU country."