Media release

European stakeholders reach broad consensus on further steps to open RPAS market

Photo: Aivis Freidenfelds, Ministry of Transport of Latvia
06 March 2015

During the two-day conference on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) the main players involved in the RPAS industry’s development in Europe met in Riga and found broad agreement on the main principles to guide the regulatory framework to allow RPAS operations throughout Europe from 2016 onwards. They are summarized in Riga declaration on Remotely Piloted Aircraft (drones).

“The aviation manufacturing industry, the potential users of the remotely piloted aircraft systems, and also public authorities understand that promoting affordable civil RPAS is a project of great opportunity for the European economy.The benefits of the development of the services provided by RPAS will be enjoyed by a vast range of European citizens through new jobs and innovative services. Therefore Member States will have to take on the work on the regulation of RPAS immediately to bring more certainty on how the RPAS industry should develop. In order to plan the investments, the industry has to see clearly what are the requirements manufacturers and operators have to meet. At the same time society must be certain that their fundamental rights to privacy and data protection are respected,” points out Anrijs Matīss, Minister for Transport of Latvia.

Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Mobility and Transport said: "Drones are the talk of the year, which is why we've come together in Riga, to find out how we, as a society want to live with drones. Of course we can't adopt new rules and regulations here today. It will take some time. But we have made our intentions clear in the "Riga declaration on civil drones". On one hand industry needs to know which direction the rules are going to make investment decisions. On the other citizens need to know how we'll uphold their safety, security and fundamental rights, for them to accept that drones will become more common in their daily lives. As regulators, we have a clear responsibility to address these issues - society expects nothing less from us. I am convinced that this conference has made a great contribution to this objective and that we've moved one step closer towards allowing drone operations everywhere in Europe — from 2016 onwards."

The main principles listed in Riga declaration involve the necessity to ensure clear rules for manufacturers and potential users; high level of safety, security and data protection requirements; RPAS operators’ responsibility and effective information exchange.

The Ministry of Transport of Latvia and the Civil Aviation Agency, in cooperation with European Commission, organised the conference during the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in Riga, 5 - 6 March.

The conference brought together high-level opinion leaders from the EU Member States and institutions, as well as international aviation organizations and members of aviation industry. The conference was attended by Mr Anrijs Matīss, Minister for Transport of the Republic of Latvia and Ms Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport. 

Ilze Svikliņa
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