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24 June 2020
In 2019 the European Union issued a package of regulations relating to the use of drones. The package consisted of two interlinked regulations:
Both regulations entered into force on 1 July 2019, but the EU Commission Implementing Regulation was set to become applicable for drone operators one year later. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU Commission further postponed the application of the implementing regulation by six months until 1 January 2021.
Although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, both the EU Commission Implementing Regulation and the EU Commission Delegated Regulation will be adopted into Swiss law. Following suit with the EU Commission, Switzerland will apply the implementing regulation from 1 January 2021. Only then will the regulation have immediate effect on how drones are operated in the European Union and Switzerland. The current Swiss regime on the operation of drones will remain in force until the end of 2020.
The EU Commission Delegated Regulation primarily affects drone manufacturers, importers and retailers. It will apply in Switzerland from 1 July 2020.
The EU drone regulations rely on the following basic concepts:
In line with these basic concepts, the regulations provide for three categories of drone operation, depending on the risks posed thereby:
Most small drones, especially those piloted by hobbyists, will be required to comply with the procedures and rules of the open category. The main changes to and additional rules under the current Swiss regime are as follows:
For further information on this topic please contact Andreas Fankhauser at Proton Legal LLC by telephone (+41 44 214 69 97) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Proton Legal LLC website can be accessed at www.proton-legal.com.
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