Danube Commission participated in the Second Black Sea Security Conference of the International Crimea Platform in Sofia

The Director General of the Secretariat of the Danube Commission, Mr. Manfred Seitz, took part in the Second Black Sea Security Conference of the International Crimea Platform on 15 April 2024 in Sofia (Bulgaria). The event was organized by the ministries of foreign affairs and defense of Ukraine and Bulgaria in partnership with the Center of Defense Strategies (Ukraine), and attended by delegations from 43 countries and 9 international organizations, representatives of Ukrainian and international agencies, as well as experts and journalists.

Participants analysed the current security challenges in the Black Sea region as a consequence of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, with a focus on the impact on global food security, the safety of navigation in the Black Sea region, and the environmental situation.

In the panel discussion dedicated to “Ensuring Maritime Stability: International Organizations and Black Sea Security”, the representative of the Danube Commission briefed the participants on the activities of the organisation aimed at securing Ukraine’s agricultural exports and bilateral trade with the EU, in the context of the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes Action Plan. The DC and EC have supported Ukrainian and Romanian authorities as well as businesses from both countries in enabling the high-volume flow of goods through the Danube ports, the Sulina Canal and the Port of Constanta. Due to the limited access to the Ukrainian seaports, these have become an essential lifeline for Ukrainian agricultural exports but also for imports of important commodities.

Also, the Director General informed about the decisions taken by the Danube Commission in response to the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine and the attacks on Ukrainian Danube ports. As this represents a clear violation of the objectives and principles of the Danube Convention, the organization adopted a decision urging the Russian Federation to withdraw 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.

The Danube corridor proved to be the most important EU-UA Solidarity Lane and maintaining it fully functional at the current level is essential, also with the perspective of its role in the reconstruction of the Ukrainian economy and the economic development of the Ukrainian-Romanian-Moldovan border region once the war is over. In this context, the Danube Commission proposes the creation of a fully digitalized information management system for cross-border traffic flows between Ukraine and the EU, making cargo flows via the Danube ports and through Constanta the first fully digital EU-UA transport corridor.