In the midst of a crippling economic crisis that has left more than five million citizens unemployed—leaving a staggering 52% percent of people under 25 out of work—Spain's government is looking to change both culture and time in order to reverse the financial decline.
A proposal to potentially boost both productivity and efficiency in the Western European country suggests regulating dining hours and putting Spain back on Coordinated Universal Time along with England and Portugal, following its natural geographic zone. This wouldn't be the first time Spain has adapted to a new time zone—during WWII, Franco moved Spain's clocks forward to match up with Germany, and the shift was never changed back.
Though several restaurants have already shut down as a result of the poor economy, a different tack is being taken regarding Spaniards' at-home dining hours. Instead of a long mid-day siesta after lunch, citizens would be encouraged to cut lunch down to an hour or less, TV shows would be programmed earlier, and Spain would see a more standard 9-to-5 workday. This means an earlier bedtime and less languorous meals.
Whether the Spanish government will make the time zone change is still hard to tell—a parliamentary report published in September of last year revealed Spaniards to be less productive and more tired than other European nations, but the government (perhaps by force of habit) is still dragging its feet.