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A provisional deal between Parliament and Council negotiators on EU-wide rules for drones and on updating civil aviation safety rules was approved by the Transport and Tourism Committee.

According to the agreement approved on Tuesday by transport MEPs with 38 votes in favour, 1 against and 2 abstentions, the design and manufacture of drones will have to comply with EU-wide basic principles on safety, security and personal data protection. The EU Commission is tasked with defining more specific requirements based on these basic principles.

 

Operators of drones that can cause significant harm to people, i.e. drones “which can transfer kinetic energy of more than 80 Joules upon impact”, or present risks to privacy, security or the environment will need to be registered. These drones also need to be marked and identified.

 

The aim of the new rules is to provide greater clarity to drone manufacturers and operators and ensure a uniform level of safety across the EU.

 

The agreed changes to EU civil aviation safety legislation introduce risk-based rules to cut red tape and boost competitiveness of the aviation sector, while allowing threats to be identified earlier and maintaining the high level of aviation safety.

 

Next steps

 

The text approved by the EP Transport and Tourism Committee now needs to be endorsed by the Parliament as a whole and the Council.

 

Quick facts

 

Currently, drones lighter than 150kg fall under the jurisdiction of national authorities and therefore manufacturers and operators are subject to different design and safety requirements.

 

Civil drone technology could account for an estimated 10% of the EU aviation market within the next 10 years (i.e. about €15 billion per year). According to the Commission, the drone industry could create some 150,000 jobs in the EU by 2050.

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