Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine
Map of the Rhine running through member countries.
|Headquarters||Palais du Rhin, Strasbourg (France)|
|Membership||Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland|
The Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR) (French: Commission Centrale pour la Navigation du Rhin) is an international organisation whose function is to encourage European prosperity by guaranteeing a high level of security for navigation of the Rhine and environs. It is the world's oldest extant international organization.
The Commission and its Secretariat is based in Strasbourg (France), in Le Palais du Rhin. It has 18 staff members who deal with general management of the 50 meetings annually, external representation, administering social security for ship crews on the Rhine and functioning as the seat of the Rhine navigation tribunal.
Legally, the Commission's authority comes from agreements made at the Congress of Vienna, held in 1815 in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. The first meeting took place on 15 August 1816 in Mainz. In 1831, the Convention of Mainz was adopted, establishing a number of the first laws governing Rhine navigation. In 1861, the commission's seat was moved to Mannheim, and on 17 October 1868, the Convention of Mannheim was agreed to.
This agreement still governs the principles of Rhine navigation today. Then, as now, the member states were Germany, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, and Switzerland (The United States was temporarily a member immediately after World War II, while Germany was under Allied occupation.)
The current revised convention is that signed in Strasbourg by the five members of the commission and the United Kingdom on 20 November 1963 and brought into force on 14 April 1967. There have since been additional protocols.
Shortly after the end of the First World War, in 1920, the commission's headquarters was moved to Strasbourg as a part of the Treaty of Versailles. In 2003 the European Commission asked for the permission of the Council of Ministers to negotiate the adhesion of the European Union to the regulations of the CCNR and the Commission of the Danube, especially given the prospective enlargement of the EU.