A World Dispute Is Making Clocks Run Slow

Enmity between Serbia and Kosovo is affecting alarm clocks throughout Europe
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2018 7:33 AM CST
A World Dispute Is Making Clocks Run Slow

Some international disputes have strange consequences: This one has the potential to make millions of people late for appointments across Europe. It seems that clocks in 25 nations from Poland to Turkey are running up to six minutes slow because of enmity between Serbia and Kosovo, reports the BBC. The clocks—only those on the power grid, which are governed by the power system's frequency, are affected, meaning smartphones are fine—have been slowly losing time since January because a power plant went down for repairs in Kosovo, explains the New York Times. The plant is connected to the larger European power grid, but its absence shouldn't have been a problem. Serbia is supposed to step in and make up the difference for its former province, but it failed to do so, for reasons way more complicated than gigawatt hours.

The two nations continue to have a host of disputes stemming from their war in the late 1990s and Kosovo's declaration of independence in 2008. The power grid is one of the sore spots, and a spokesperson for the organization that runs Europe's power grid blamed "misbehavior of both countries" for the dispute. That organization, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, announced this week it had brokered a short-term deal to resolve the issue, though "it will take some time to get the system back to normal," per Reuters. What's more, "there are some ongoing conflicts that urgently need to be resolved so that we never face such a situation again.” This might be one of them: Serbia still does not recognize Kosovo. Both were once part of Yugoslavia. (Florida has some of its own issues with the keeping of time.)

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