Drought events and their impacts vary spatially and temporally due to diverse pedo-climatic and hydrologic conditions, as well as variations in exposure and vulnerability, such as demographics and response actions. While hazard severity and frequency of past drought events have been studied in detail, little is known about the effect of drought management strategies on the actual impacts and how the hazard is perceived by relevant stakeholders. In a continental study, we characterised and assessed the impacts and the perceptions of two recent drought events (2018 and 2019) in Europe and examined the relationship between management strategies and drought perception, hazard, and impact. The study was based on a pan-European survey involving national representatives from 28 countries and relevant stakeholders responding to a standard questionnaire. The survey focused on collecting information on stakeholders' perceptions of drought, impacts on water resources and beyond, water availability, and current drought management strategies on national and regional scales. The survey results were compared with the actual drought hazard information registered by the European Drought Observatory (EDO) for 2018 and 2019. The results highlighted high diversity in drought perception across different countries and in values of the implemented drought management strategies to alleviate impacts by increasing national and sub-national awareness and resilience. The study identifies an urgent need to further reduce drought impacts by constructing and implementing a European macro-level drought governance approach, such as a directive, which would strengthen national drought management and mitigate damage to human and natural assets.