With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for drone users.
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Have you ever bought or been offered a drone, and wondered what you are allowed to do with it? Maybe you have already taken photos with your drone or tried to lift things up into the air. Or maybe your neighbours thinks you are spying on them…
Various European countries have regulated the use of drones. However, the rules differ from country to country and are not easy to follow. The European Union has helped drone users to navigate this vast mass of information, by co-funding the creation of a website on drone rules.
Providing information does not eliminate all obstacles to the creation of a truly open market for drones however. Drones can pose a risk to safety, security and privacy regardless of the country in which they are being flown. They can also be flown across national borders. That is why the EU has been working on common rules on the civil use of drones. These rules will be adopted step by step, starting from general principles and moving towards more detailed rules. The rules will take into account the risk caused by various drone uses and will include requirements such as the obligation for people flying heavier drones to register, or restrictions on flying drones in certain zones defined by each country.
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Not all rules are written in drone-specific laws. For instance, if your drone is equipped with a camera or a video recorder, and you capture personal data, EU data protection rules could apply. These rules say that you are not allowed to take photographs, videos or sound recordings of people without their permission.
- Unmanned aircraft (drones), European Commission website, https://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/uas_en
- New civil aviation safety rules, EPRS briefing, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI%282017%29595877
- Civil drones in the European Union, EPRS briefing, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2015)571305