Migration and Home Affairs

Commission hosted a High-Level International Conference on countering the threats posed by drones

Thursday, 7 November, 2019

On 17 October 2019, Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos, Violeta Bulc and Sir Julian King spoke during a High-level International Conference on countering the threats posed by unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), more commonly referred to as drones. The conference, which was co-organised by DG Migration and Home Affairs (HOME) and DG Mobility and Transport (MOVE), brought together a wide range of stakeholders from EU Member States, third countries, international organisations, industry, academia and civil society.

The Conference reflected recognition on the part of the participants that while there are many positive use cases for drones, they can also be used by criminals and terrorists in ways that seriously disrupt daily life (as the December 2018 Gatwick episode clearly illustrated) and even injure people. The event was an opportunity to discuss how the rapid pace of technological change can alter the threat picture when it comes to drones and what solutions may be required in response.
It was clear after the event that there are a number of areas where further European action in confronting the drone threat is required, including:

  • The empowerment of national authorities to exclude non-cooperative drones from restricted airspace through existing law and new means of unmanned traffic management, referred to as “U-Space” in Europe.
  • Support in the development of effective tools to counter non-cooperative drones, such as workable plans and routines, effective countermeasures and adequate training/education.
  • Ensuring that the drones that find their way onto the European market are safe, secure, operationally reliable, and difficult to use for malicious purposes.
  • The cultivation of a common “drone culture” in Europe, so that citizens understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate (and potentially criminal) use of drones.

More information