Inland water transport in Europe is covered by various systems of law, created at different times of history. Despite the complex institutional framework, cooperation among the various institutions involved has led to a of legal harmonisation of inland water transport.
The Central Commission for the Rhine Navigation (CCNR), an international organisation established through the Mannheim Convention of 1868, enacts binding for the navigation on the Rhine and also has a mission to promote navigation on the Rhine. It is located in Strasbourg, France and consists of five member states: Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
The CCNR’s counterpart for the Danube is the Danube Commission, created by the Belgrade Convention of 1948. Its structure and missions are similar to those of the CCNR, except for the fact that its decisions are not binding upon member states. It is located in Budapest, Hungary and consists of 11 member states: Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine.
There are also the Mosel and Sava Commissions, plus the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which has 56 member states and enacts recommendations in the field of inland navigation. The EU also regulates inland water transport within the framework of its common transport policy but this does not cover the Rhine, which is only governed by the regulations enacted by the CCNR.
It is generally conceded now that most inland navigation regulations should not be to a river basin. Efforts have therefore been made by the various European institutions dealing with inland navigation to harmonise their regulations and create a Europe-wide regime.
Those different regulations are presented in the following categories: