THE
DANUBE
COMMISSION
Hélène Poszler
BUDAPEST, May 2008
OUTLINE
1.
LEGAL NATURE: intergovernmental international organization, subject
2.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: 4 periods, EDC.
3.
AIM: TOWARDS A FREE NAVIGATION: Belgrade Convention.
4.
THE DANUBE RIVER: geography of the Danube, figures, the Danube
5.
ROLE OF THE DC, activities, tasks, norms and rules for the navigation.
6.
FUNCTIONING: legal basis, Member States, Observers, international
7.
A CASE OF DC INTERVENTION: Sloboda bridge (Novi Sad region,
8.
CONCLUDING REMARKS: the future of the BC, pending questions.
of public international law, legal personality, founding document,
Commission’s statute, headquarters, diplomatic immunity and privileges,
seal and flag.
as a way of transport.
organizations, official languages, 3 series of organs, decision-making
process, financing, structure.
former FRY).
LEGAL NATURE OF THE DC
• International organization: organization which regroups
persons in order to coordinate actions touching several
countries.
• Intergovernmental organization: composed of sovereign
states (11), its scope has been created with a specific
purpose: navigation.
• Subject of Public International Law, capable of entering into
agreements with other international organizations or with
states.
• Legal personality in conformity with the legislation of the
State where its headquarters are located (Hungary).
• Established by a founding document in virtue of Article 5 of
the Convention regarding the Regime of Navigation on the
Danube.
LEGAL NATURE OF THE DC
(cont’d)
• Matters concerning the Commission’s statute are
regulated by the Convention on its privileges and
immunities (entered into force on 28 January 1964).
• Questions concerning the headquarters of the DC in
Hungary are ruled by a bilateral agreement concluded
on 27 May 1964 between the Government of the
People's Republic of Hungary and the DC and the
Additionnal Protocol to this agreement.
• In conformity with Article 16 of the BC, the members of
the DC and the servants mandated by it are granted
diplomatic immunity and privileges, the offices, the
archives and the documents of every kind belonging to
the DC are inviolable.
SEAL AND FLAG OF THE DC
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The Danube, at all times, played a great role in the development
of external economic relations of the countries situated in the
Danube basin.
4 periods:
1.
1815: Congress of Vienna, Final Act  principle of
freedom of navigation on international waterways.
2.
1856: Paris Conference (I), 18 March 1856: signature of
the Treaty of Paris  Black Sea open and free to vessels
of commerce of all nations + Danube: subjected to the
rules of the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna + creation
of the European Danube Commission (EDC).
3.
1921: Paris Conference (II), July 1921: signature of a
Convention  establishment of the “definitive statute of
the Danube” + creation of the International Danube
Commission (IDC).
4.
1948: Belgrade Conference, 18 August 1948: signature of
the Convention regarding the Regime of Navigation on the
Danube + creation of the Danube Commission (DC).
THE EUROPEAN DANUBE COMMISSION
Flag of the EDC
Participants to the Congress of Paris
(1856)
THE EUROPEAN DANUBE COMMISSION
(cont’d)
•
1856: creation, initially founded for two years.
•
Task: responsible for the execution of works in order to
have no obstacle on the Danube (Article 16 of the Treaty
of Paris).
•
7 Member States: signatories of Treaty of Paris: Russia,
Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia, Sardinia, Turkey.
•
Increasing power  prolongation of its existence.
THE EUROPEAN DANUBE COMMISSION
(cont’d)
• 1858: Second Conference of Paris EDC would continue
its activity until the complete achievement of all
hydrotechnical works that had been started in the Danube’s
embouchure.
• 1860: for the 1st time, introduction by the EDC of a tariff for
the passage of boats in order to finalize deepening works
of the bed and of protection started on Sulina’s branch.
• 1871: Treaty of London  prolongation of the prerogatives
of the EDC until 1883.
• 1881: institution of the EDC’s flag.
• 1883: Treaty of London  prolongation of the prerogatives
of the EDC for a period of 21 years.
TOWARDS A FREE NAVIGATION
• After World War II, Conference: delegations from Danubian
States, USA, England, France.
• 18 August 1948: signature of the Convention regarding the
Regime of Navigation on the Danube in Belgrade (so-called
Belgrade Convention).
• BC: founding document, international legal instrument
governing navigation on the Danube.
• Entered into force on 11 May 1949 (dualistic system).
TOWARDS A FREE NAVIGATION
(cont’d)
• BC’s main idea (Preamble): „providing for free navigation on
the Danube in accordance with the interests and sovereign
rights of the Danubian States”.
• Chapter I: General Provisions: Article 1: free navigation +
Article 3: „The Danubian States undertake to maintain their
sections of the Danube in a navigable condition (…) to carry
out the works necessary (…)”
• Chap. II: Administrative Provisions: Section I: DC +
Section II: Special River Administrations.
• Chap. III: Regime of Navigation.
• Chap. IV: Procedure for Defraying the Cost of Maintenance
of Navigation (financial matters). Chap. V: Final Provisions.
• 1998 Supplementary Protocol to the Convention regarding
the Regime of Navigation on the Danube: adhesion of
Germany, Croatia and Moldavia to the BC.
GEOGRAPHY OF THE DANUBE
FIGURES
• 2nd longest river on the European continent after the Volga.
• Length: 2850 km, international navigation on 2411 km.
• Total area of the basin: 817,000 sq km.
• Length of the basin from West to East: 1690 km,
width: 820 km.
• The hydrographic net of the Danube basin is formed of about
120 tributaries (ex.: the Inn, the Drava, the Tisza, the Sava,
the Morava, the Olt, the Siret and the Prut).
• Some years, the domestic and international traffic represent
more than 100 million tons of merchandise transported.
DANUBE AS A WAY OF TRANSPORT
• As „Corridor VII” of Europe, the Danube is an important
transport route.
• Since the opening of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal (1992),
the river connects the Black Sea with the industrial centers of
western Europe and with the Port of Rotterdam.
• Types of ships: cargo vessels, push-tow tugs, pleasure crafts
(vessel of any type intended to be used for the purpose of
sport and recreation). Sea ships from the Black Sea to Braila
in Romania and river ships.
• Merchandise + passengers are transported.
• Kinds of merchandise: mineral raw materials, minerai, iron,
copper, solid combustibles, liquid hydrocarbures, grains.
CARGO SHIP
A cargo ship is any sort of ship or vessel that carries
cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another.
PUSH-TOW TUG
A push-tow tug is a powerful small boat designed to pull
or push larger ships.
THE ROLE OF THE DC
1.
The modernization and unification of the normative base
of navigation on the Danube of all the rules and
prescriptions concerned with navigation, in nautical,
technical, environment protection, economical use fields
etc.
2.
The contribution to the improvement of political relations
of River countries, particularly as a political mediator in
case of political obstacles to the free navigation, as well
as the sustainable prevention of such obstacles.
3.
The systematical collection, the critical evaluation and the
promotion of everything serving the navigation on the
Danube, the coordination of national activities of River
states and the incentive support of navigation on the
Danube as a whole.
ACTIVITIES
2 categories:
1.
Normatives: as each intergovernmental organization, the
DC has to elaborate international norms, which will be
adopted by each MS.
2.
Operationals: as a technical assistance (for example,
intervention to help MS solve disagreement), the DC can
control in the field to check if norms have been respected.
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
TASKS
BC, Chapter II, Article 8.
to supervise the implementation of the provisions of this
Convention;
to prepare a general plan of the prinicpal works called for in
the interest of navigation (…) and, likewise to draw up a
general budget in connexion with such works (…);
to establish a uniform system of traffic regulations on the
whole navigable portion of the Danube;
to unify the regulations governing river inspection;
to co-ordinate the hydro-meteorological services on the
Danube;
to produce statistics on aspects of navigation on the Danube;
to publish reference works, sailing directions, navigational
charts and atlases for purposes of navigation;
to prepare and approve the budget of the Commission.
NORMS AND RULES FOR THE NAVIGATION
• Basic Provisions relating to Navigation on the Danube (1951) +
special recommendations.
• Rules on River Surveillance (adopted in 1951).
• Agreement on International Danube Freight Rates (MGDT
Agreement, 1979).
• Rules concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous
Goods (1995)
• Boatmen’s Guide.
• Recommendations
(pushers,
radiotelephonic services, radars,
waterway…).
telecommunications,
maintenance of the
• Recommendations on Technical Requirements for Inland
Navigation Vessels (adopted in 1992).
• Recommendations on Minimum Requirements for the
Issuance of Boatmaster’s Licence in Inland Navigation with a
view to their Reciprocal Recognition for International Traffic
(1995).
FUNCTIONING OF THE DC
• Legal basis: Chap. 2 BC and Rules of Procedure of the DC.
• 11 Member States (1948, 1998) Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia,
Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, Russia,
Ukraine, Serbia.
• 7
Observers
(2001,
2006):
France,
Netherlands,
Czech Republic, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Montenegro.
• Cooperation with international organizations: CCNR, UNECE,
Sava Commission, ICPDR etc…
• Official and working languages: French, German, Russian.
FUNCTIONING OF THE DC
(cont’d)
3 series of organs:
1. A gathering of representatives of the Member States (1 for
each): deliberative organ (= has voting power). Meets twice a
year in ordinary session. Established to supervise the
implementation of the BC and fulfill various other tasks aiming at
ensuring adequate conditions for shipping on the Danube.
2.
A Secretariat: administrative and permanent organ, represents
implementation.
3.
Consultative and technical organs: experts, persons sent by the
MS, specialized in the matter discussed.
Decision-making process: mainly by simple majority.
Financing: MS = contributors, same level of contribution in the
budget, approved at the session by simple majority + voluntary
contributions of Observers. The budget is planned for one calendar
year and is expressed in euros.
STRUCTURE OF THE DC
V ic e P re s id e n t
o f th e D C
P re s id e n t
o f th e D C
S e c re ta ry
o f th e D C
R ep resen tatives o f th e M em b er S tates to th e D an u b e
C o m m i s s i o n C C o m m mD m
Danube
ire C
c toor m
G em
n eiras ls i o n m i s s i o n d u
o f th e S e c re ta ria t
C h ie f E n g in e e r
D eputy D irector for the
D evelopm ent of the
D anubian N avigation and
A dm inistrative A ffairs
J u rid ic a l A d vis o r
N a u tic a l A d vis o r
T e c h n ic a l A d vis o r
F in a n c ia l A d vis o r
M a in te n a n c e o f th e
W a te rw a y A d vis o r
E d itio n a n d P u b lic
R e la tio n s A d vis o r
E xp lo ita tio n a n d
E c o lo g ic a l A d vis o r
E conom ic and S tatistic
A nalysis A dvisor
S ecretariat o f th e D an u b e C o m m issio n
A CASE OF DC INTERVENTION:
Sloboda bridge (Novi Sad Region,
former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)
1999: NATO bombing of 3 bridges in Serbia
1999: pontoon bridge
2000: debris removed
2005: bridge rebuilt
THE FUTURE OF THE BELGRADE
CONVENTION
• Strengthening free navigation and non-discriminatory
policies with the view to facilitate closer cooperation and
future integration of inland navigation in Europe.
• Developing the Danube as an efficient and competitive
waterway, in order to play its appropriate role within the
framework of a sustainable European transport policy.
• Improving the institutional aspects of the Convention and
reforming the Commission with a view to adapt it to the
present realities and in order to provide it with the tools
needed for dealing with the challenges of the future.
PENDING QUESTIONS
1.
Need to harmonize the technical prescriptions, rules and
standards, as well as of legal provisions in force on the
Danube, on the Rhine, within the European Union, and
those adopted by the UNECE, with the aim of creating a
uniform Pan-European system of inland navigation
consisting of organizational structures that can meet
present conditions.
2.
Necessity to bring the Belgrade Convention into harmony
with present day circumstances. Revision of the BC in
process by a Preparatory Committee composed of the
representatives of the Contracting Parties of the Belgrade
Convention.
Thank you for your kind attention
www.danubecom-intern.org
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