100th Jubilee Session of the Danube Commission

The Danube Commission (DC) held its 100th session on 14 December, under the presidency of the Representative of Ukraine to the Danube Commission, H.E. Mrs. Ambassador Liubov Nepop, at the premises of the Danube Commission in Budapest.

The delegations of the ten Danube States of the Danube Commission (Republic of Austria, Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Croatia, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Republic of Serbia, Slovak Republic, and Ukraine), as well as observer states (Czech Republic, Greece) and international organizations (Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine and Conference of the Directors of Danube Shipping Companies – Members of Bratislava Agreements) participated in the meeting.

In her opening remarks, the President of the Danube Commission referred to the celebration of 75 years since the signing of the Belgrade Convention on the Navigation of the Danube and the importance of the 100th Session of the Danube Commission in looking into perspective to the challenges of the future of the organization.

The President of the DC outlined the main tasks of the DC for 2024 and Ambassador Gergő Kocsis (HU) informed on the progress of the Committee for the preparation of the Diplomatic Conference mandated to make proposals for the reform of the Danube Commission.

During the debate, the Secretariat reported on its activities in the past year, including its cooperation with international organizations and participation in international projects. The delegations took note of the reports of the Commission’s working groups on technical, as well as legal and financial issues. Upon the recommendations of its working bodies, the Commission adopted several decisions on the plan of work and budget for the coming year.

Following the debates in November of the Working group on legal and financial matters, the Session took note of the systematic attacks by the Russian Federation on the Lower Danube region which continually violate the fundamental principles of the Belgrade Convention. In this regard, the Danube states adopted a decision urging the Russian Federation to draw the consequences of its attacks by withdrawing from the Belgrade Convention until 29 February 2024, or, failing that, as of 1 March 2024, the Danube States will no longer consider themselves bound by the obligations under the Belgrade Convention vis-à-vis the Russian Federation.

Danube States also demanded that Russian Federation fulfills its outstanding financial obligations towards the Danube Commission (Decision).

The 100th session decided, at the proposal of the Serbian delegation, to award the commemorative medal “for merits in the development of Danube navigation” to Mrs. Ivana Kunc.