Minister Berner and Commissioner Bulc discuss drone regulation and transport digitalisation
Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner and Commissioner of Transport Violeta Bulc are meeting to discuss the future of unmanned aviation in Finland and Europe, the digitalisation of transport and the abolition of summer time.
Minister Anne Berner and Commissioner Violeta Bulc are meeting on 21 November 2017 in connection with the Helsinki High Level Conference on Drones, organised by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi and the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA.
"It is important to improve the business opportunities of unmanned aircraft and safe use of drones through regulation. It is also important to promote the utilisation of new technology and thereby automation in transport," says Minister Berner.
Unmanned aircraft - drones - are one of the fastest developing sectors that offer new business opportunities and growth potential both in Finland and in Europe. For example in Finland, there are nearly 2,000 professionals in the field and countless enthusiasts.
"From the perspective of streamlining the regulations, it is important that the requirements for companies, hobbyists, and the authorities are carried out in a way that keeps the burden on administration as light as possible, and makes the threshold for entering the field as low as possible," says Minister Berner.
In late 2015, the Commission published a proposal on the renewal of the EASA Basic Regulation. In consequence, unmanned aviation would be governed by an EU Regulation instead of national legislation. Renewal of the Regulation is still in progress.
Cross-border transport services for Europe
In addition to unmanned aircraft, Minister Berner and Commissioner Bulc are discussing transport digitalisation.
The year 2018 is the Commission's theme year of multimodality in transport. The Commission's objective is to promote the emergence of travel chains linking different transport modes.
According to Minister Berner, Finland already has dozens of companies operating around the concept Mobility as a Service (MaaS). The largest of these are listed companies while the smallest are new startups. International and EU cooperation is also underway at several levels to enable cross-border services.
"For the competitiveness of the EU, it is important that multimodal transport services, i.e. seamless travel chains on one payment interface, are subject to more comprehensive, more strategic and more ambitious examination in the whole of the EU. Here we can help thanks to our own experience," says Minister Anne Berner.
"Digital transport solutions increase the fluency, efficiency and safety of operations and free resources for other uses," says Minister Berner, describing the change now taking place in transport and the importance of transport automation.
Proposal for the abolition of summer time
Minister Berner also raised the topic of ending the summer time arrangements. Minister Berner sent a letter on this issue to the Commissioner on 15 November 2017. The letter explained the situation in Finland and asked about the Commission's plans for summer time.
The European Commission has announced that it will review the summer time arrangements in 2017. The Commission has the power to take the initiative for amending or repealing the relevant directive.
"We have proposed that the issue be put on the agenda of the Transport Council's meeting in December. Then the transport ministers would have the opportunity to inquire about the potential intentions of the Commission and other Member States in this matter," Minister Berner explained.
The EU Member States' uniform practice in switching to summer and normal times is important, for instance, in order to maintain well-functioning air transport connections.
Timo Kievari, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2620, firstname.lastname(a)lvm.fi, @TimoKievari