Map of the Rhine running through member countries.
|Headquarters||Palais du Rhin, Strasbourg (France)|
|Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland|
The Central Commission for the Navigation of 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 international organization still in operation.
The commission and its secretariat are based in Strasbourg, France, in Le Palais du Rhin. It has around 30 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. Its operational budget is €2.7 million annually.
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. The member states are currently Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
The current revised convention was signed in Strasbourg by the five members of the commission and the United Kingdom on 20 November 1963 and entered into force on 14 April 1967. There have since been additional protocols.
Shortly after the end of the First World War, the commission's headquarters was moved to Strasbourg in 1920 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 adherence of the European Union to the regulations of the CCNR and the Danube Commission, especially given the prospective enlargement of the EU.
Individual German states were members before the First World War. The United States was temporarily a member immediately after the Second World War, while Germany was under Allied occupation, until 1961. Italy and the United Kingdom were also members following the Treaty of Versailles, though Italy renounced its position in 1935 and the UK renounced in 1993.
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