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VILNIUS - The Lithuanian government announced on Wednesday that is initiating EU-level discussions on the summer time directive.
Lithuanian politicians have considered the possibility of abandoning the so-called daylight saving time (DST) for years, but this time they expect a breakthrough because other countries, such as Poland or Finland, have also begun to raise the issue of the twice-yearly clock shift.
"We can't guarantee that this time shift will stop next year, but we are initiating a discussion in the European Union," Deividas Matulionis, foreign policy adviser to Lithuania's prime minister, told reporters.
According to the adviser, Lithuanian officials want to find out what opinions EU member states have about the matter and they also intend to raise the question of whether the directive imposes an obligation to switch between summer and winter time.
"Someone must take the initiative. Why not us?", he said
Critics of the practice of setting clocks forward 1 hour on the last Sunday in March and back 1 hour on the last Sunday in October say that the time shift can cause sleep and mental disorders and other health problems.
However, the Lithuanian Institute of Hygiene says in a report to the government that there is no scientific evidence at the moment that the time shift is harmful to health
Lithuania's earlier governments also considered negotiating with the European Commission on scrapping the twice-yearly practice, but they never took further steps.
A poll conducted by Vilmorus last April shortly after the switch to DST found that almost 80 percent of Lithuanians did not approve of the practice.