The Central Commission has a longstanding tradition of cooperation with the European Union.
This cooperation is currently expressed in particular in the Administrative Agreement concluded between the CCNR and the European Commission on 3 March 2003 . This Agreement, concluded following an exchange of correspondence dating back to 1961, provides for a systematic exchange of information and regular meetings to coordinate activities. The CCNR accords observer status to the European Commission. Conversely, the European Commission accords observer status within the Joint Committee on Inland Navigation.
With the adoption of Additional Protocol No. 2, the CCNR accorded to all Member States of the European Union the same conditions of access to the Rhine as for its own members. To this end, the CCNR and the European Community have adopted identical regulations defining the vessels belonging to Rhine navigation or to Community navigation. [Access to the Rhine market]
Upon implementation of the Community programme for structural improvements, the CCNR adopted identical provisions in order to ensure complete integration of Rhine navigation in this action (Additional Protocols Nos. 4 and 5).
For more than ten years the Central Commission and the European Commission have been developing in close cooperation with the industry a market observation programme.
With respect to the technical requirements for vessels used in inland navigation, the CCNR and the EU have adopted identical regulations and have agreed to mutually recognise their vessel certificates. For the purpose of ensuring identical requirements as well as a common safety policy in the long term, a Joint Working Group (JWG) has been established with the mandate of preparing proposals for amending the technical requirements. The Secretariat of this working group is funded on the basis of a co-financing agreement between the CCNR and the European Commission.
The Director-General for mobility and transport of the European Commission (DG MOVE) and the Secretary General of the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) have signed, on 22.05.13, an administrative arrangement which fosters the cooperation between the two institutions . Their common objectives are to ensure the optimal functioning of the market for inland navigation and to remove obstacles that prevent a broader use of this mode of transport.
This administrative arrangement concerns the following three main areas of cooperation:
This new form of cooperation should improve the efficiency of the respective policies of the two institutions in these areas notably through a better alignment of priorities and the adoption of new common standards of reference for their legislative frameworks. Such cooperation will be of benefit to the inland navigation sector which needs a coherent and efficient governance framework to realise its full potential.
In its staff working document “Towards NAIADES II” of May 2012, the Commission services have recognised the need to strengthen the international cooperation in the field of inland navigation. The increased use of the CCNR expertise in a number of areas and the streamlining of regulatory frameworks supported by common structures, envisaged in the framework of the present administrative arrangement are a step in this direction.