Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez has urged public and private sector workers to stop wearing ties to conserve energy amid the scorching heat.
The call from the prime minister comes as a gas crisis looms over the European Union and as part of an effort to become less dependent on Russian gas in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
On Friday, temperatures reached 36C in Madrid and 39C in Seville, as Europe experienced record-high temperatures over the past few weeks.
Speaking at a news conference in Madrid, Mr Sanchez pointed out that he wasn’t wearing a tie and said he wanted his ministers and workers to do the same to stay cooler.
“I’d like you all to note that I am not wearing a tie,” he said. “This means we can all save from an energy point of view.”
He added: “I have asked ministers, all public officials, and I would like to ask the private sector too, if they haven’t already done so, not to wear a tie when it isn’t necessary because that way we will be confronting the energy saving that is so important in our country.”
Mr Sanchez said his government will adopt “urgent” measures on Monday to improve efficiency and energy saving “in line with what other European countries do”.
His plan aims to keep people cooler and subsequently lower energy costs as air conditioners will be used less often.
In 2012, Japan also adopted similar measures. The country introduced its “Super Cool Biz” campaign encouraging office workers to wear cooler clothes in summer.
In the UK, politicians were told they could get rid of their suit jackets while in the House of Commons during the recent heatwave.
Spain has encouraged remote work and has put limits on air conditioning in offices in summer and heat in the winter to conserve energy.
Mr Sanchez said a new energy-saving decree would be introduced on Monday. Part of the plan includes a move to encourage businesses to keep their doors closed where possible, to prevent air conditioning from escaping.
In May, the European Commission released a €210bn (£176bn) plan to boost renewable energy and reduce energy consumption, as well as European countries’ dependency on Russian gas.
Germany, one of the countries expected to be hit the hardest by Russian energy supply cutoffs, announced it would introduce a series of measures – Hanover, in the north of the country, will offer only cold showers in public pools and sports centres.