The legal basis for the work of the CCNR is the Revised Convention for Rhine navigation. The interpretation and implementation of the Convention in the course of more than 100 years have made it possible to lay down the system of regulations for Rhine navigation. To describe the objectives of the Central Commission means to ensure that these main principles continue to be relevant and up to date.
The principle requires that any current or future obstructions to navigation be avoided or at least be limited as far as possible; these include:
These principles, recognised by the Congress of Vienna and the Mannheim Convention, require that uniform regulations apply for all those participating in Rhine navigation and for all national sections of the river (with the exception of special navigational authority regulations necessary due to the special characteristics of certain sections of the waterway).
To ensure that these regulations are continuously updated and that the policy of the various riparian states is coordinated, within the framework of the CCNR a common administration for Rhine navigation has been established. This legislative competence (which is constitutive and applies to regulations) guarantees harmonised and even unified technical and legal requirements for navigation and directly related activities.
These principles as well as the specific measures derived from them, which for a long time were considered unique and pioneering, are destined to be applied to the entire European system of inland navigation.
The unified Rhine navigation market thus forms the core of a much vaster entity, a large unified inland navigation market, which is foremost a Community market and secondly a European market in the broad sense.
These principles provide the framework for the two central and permanent objectives of the CCNR as set forth in Article 45 of the Convention of Mannheim, which defines the powers of the CCNR:
The CCNR sees its task foremost in promoting the development of inland navigation, primarily on the Rhine but also on all waterways in Europe. This concern takes three forms:
It is not the role of the CCNR to intervene directly in economic mechanisms but instead to contribute toward providing those participating in the economy with the most favourable overall conditions for developing their economic activities. The Commission considers the following aspects in this regard:
The CCNR is obliged to promote meetings and discussion among the various bodies or professions participating in Rhine navigation. In this regard it is advisable to extend the relations to include all activities of the professions concerned.
The CCNR supports activities in various areas aimed at reinforcing the position of Rhine and European navigation in the face of competing modes of transport.
The CCNR has a twofold mission:
Harmonisation of legal regulations
The CCNR intends to continue playing the role of a driver in the process leading to harmonisation of legal regulations and norms for inland navigation at the European or pan European level.
Monitoring of market liberalisation
The CCNR has the obligation of preparing for a process of market opening, with the goal of creating an integrated river transport market which includes the Central and Eastern European countries.
Cooperating with other international institutions active in the area of inland navigation
The CCNR will rely on a longstanding practice of cooperation with the entirety of governmental and non-governmental organisations active in the area of inland navigation in Europe.
The Central Commission will be particularly attentive to appropriate opportunities for working more closely with the European Union and the Danube Commission.
The CCNR will intensify ties with organisations such as the UN/ECE, ICPR and ECMT, with a view to ensuring that activities by the various organisations are coherent and complementary while respecting their individual features. Any cases involving conflicts of competence or redundant efforts should be resolved. The CCNR will aim to promote towards other institutions the solutions adopted at the Rhine level.
The safety of persons and goods in navigation activities is a longstanding concern which, however, requires ongoing adaptation of standards. The concern with ensuring the safety and the integrity of the environment as well is assuming growing importance.
This is a traditional objective of the CCNR, and the Commission’s efforts in achieving it are generally recognised. The CCNR intends to preserve its leading role in this area even though certain regulations are destined to be revised within a broader framework.
The safety of the environment is assuming growing importance for the CCNR as well as for inland navigation in general. The latter needs to stay in harmony with its brand image as an ecological means of transport. In view of the rapid progress made in this area by other modes of transport (especially by road transport) and of the very long service life of vessels, it is important to introduce the necessary changes in a timely manner.