The culmination of a lengthy negotiation process,  Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 & Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, have been published “to ensure drone operations across Europe are safe and secure,” says an EASA post. “The rules will amongst others help to protect the safety and the privacy of EU citizens while enabling the free circulation of drones and a level playing field within the European Union.”

Europe will be the first region in the world to have a comprehensive set of rules ensuring safe, secure and sustainable operations of drones both, for commercial and leisure activities. Common rules will help foster investment, innovation and growth in this promising sector” said Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA.

The rules offer Eropean businesses and drone operators the opportunity to work across borders without worrying about the laws changing, something that the United States has struggled to do as individual states continue to enact their own unique drone regulations.    The set of new regulations will replace the existing regulations in European member states.  “The common rules will help drone operators, whether professional or recreational, to have a clear understanding of what is allowed or not. At the same time it enables them to operate across borders. Once drone operators have received an authorisation in the state of registration, they are allowed to freely circulate in the European Union. This means that they can operate their drones seamlessly when travelling across the EU or when developing a business involving drones around Europe,” says the EASA announcement.

The regulations cover both technical and procedural regulations, and drone operations.  They require, for example, that all drones be “individually identifiable, allowing the authorities to trace a particular drone if necessary.” says EASA. Additionally, the rules place drone operations in broad risk-based categories: open, specific, and certified.

While the rules have been published today, operators have a year to complete requirements to comply.  “The applicability will be gradual according to a timeline that can be consulted on the EASA drone page,” says the EASA announcement.

EASA says that next steps are to develop a “common European market for drones.”

“During the next High Level Conference on Drones 2019 EASA will give the opportunity to discuss the new rules and the upcoming regulatory proposal in depth,” says the announcement.

“This yearly conference is organised by EASA and takes place from 5 – 6 December 2019 during Amsterdam Drone Week. The event with the topic “Scaling drone operations” will bring together regulatory bodies and industry experts from all over the world to discuss the development of a common European market for drones.”