The meeting of the working group was attended by delegations of the DC Member States, as well as invited representatives of international organisations.
Mr. D. Barinov (Ukraine) was elected Chairman of the working group, and Ms. I. Kunc (Serbia) was elected Vice-Chairman.
In his introductory speech, the Director-General of the Secretariat gave a general description of the current state of Danube navigation and assessed the risks associated with the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, recalling that the decision of the extraordinary session of the Danube Commission of 17 March 2022 the Russian Federation has been suspended from all meetings pending the restoration of the peace, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The Chairman of the working group, Mr. Barinov, described in his opening statement the current situation in Ukraine as a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine and provided detailed information about the work in the Ukrainian sea and Danube ports, focusing on the export of agricultural products under martial law.
Pursuant to the adopted agenda, the working group considered a significant range of issues relating not only to the current state of Danube navigation, but also to the future activities of the DC in 2023 and beyond.
The delegations discussed the outcome of the work of the drafting group on the updating of DFND 2018, inter alia, the issue of the language/languages of communication in Danube navigation during radio exchange was approved. The meeting also discussed the need to update the Local rules of navigation on the Danube and the implementation of Directive (EU) 2017/2397.
Extensive debate took place on the implementation of Directives (EU) 2016/1629 and ES-TRIN standard in Danube navigation. The mutual recognition of certificates for inland navigation vessels on the Danube was also discussed, first of all, concerning the problem encountered by the DC member states that are not members of the European Union.
An updated draft version of the DC Work Platform for fleet modernization was presented in accordance with the “Green Deal” concept and the ES-TRIN standard, and also taking into account the results of the GRENDEL project and the main directions of the PLATINA 3 project. This project also takes into account the outcomes of the survey of DC member states on this topic.
The delegations were informed about the publication of new versions of the documents:
- “Recommendations for ensuring the security of navigation on the Danube”,
- “Manual on radiotelephone service on navigable inland waterways, Regional part – the Danube”,
- “Recommendations for organising the collection of ship-generated waste in Danube navigation”.
An updated version of the Plan for major works on the achievement of recommended fairway parameters, hydrotechnical and other facilities on the Danube and the support to national waterway administrations in carrying out annual hydrotechnical works were considered.
In view of the critical situation on the Danube as a result of a long period of shallow summer water and shortcomings in fairway maintenance which led to traffic stoppages, a meeting of hydrotechnical experts (EM HYDRO) in February 2023 was deemed appropriate.
The outcomes of meetings organized or attended by the Danube Commission in collaboration with other international organisations were presented the 13th Follow-up meeting of Joint Statement convoked by the Secretariats of the Danube Commission, the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) and International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC) (Budapest, September 2022), and the participation in the METEET project and other fora were presented
An overview of the DC’s involvement in the activities related to the TEN-T Core Corridor Rhine-Danube, Steering Committee and Working Groups of Priority Area 1 and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (PA 1a EUSDR) was presented; information on the application of the DAVID forms in Danube navigation and on the creation of the digital DAVID forms under the RIS COMEX project was provided.
The Secretariat reported on the participation in relevant activities at the European level within CESNI/QP, CESNI/PT, CESNI/TI, the UNECE and in other events.
The Working group reviewed the work of the Secretariat in the field of statistics and economic analysis, as well as the results of market observation for Danube navigation (results of the first half of 2022); and the cooperation with the CCNR on the preparation of joint publications on Market observation report on inland navigation in Europe was considered.
The delegations were informed about the active involvement of the Danube Commission in finding solutions for the problem of export of Ukraine’s agricultural products under the “Danube Solidarity Lanes EU-Ukraine” initiative, adopted in May 2022. This is meant to support European Union’s solidarity measures with Ukraine, according to the “Action Plan for EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes to facilitate Ukraine’s agricultural export and bilateral trade with EU”(Brussels, 12.5.2022 COM (2022) 217 final).
The Working group took note of the update provided by the Secretariat on the implementation of GRANT II and on the preparation of GRANT III, as well as on the participation in the HORIZON 2020 – PLATINA 3 project.
In its final day, the Working group heard an interim report by the Director-General of the Secretariat on the implementation of the DC Work Plan for2022 and adopted the draft DC Work Plan for 2023, as well as the provisional schedule of meetings relating to technical matters in the coming year.