Carriage of goods by inland waterways is an environmentally friendly mode of transport, which can make a significant contribution to sustainable mobility in Europe. The European Commission believes that its great potential must be better used in order to relieve heavy congested transport corridors.
The NAIADES action programme, launched in 2006, comprises numerous actions and measures to boost transports on inland waterways. The programme runs until 2013 and is to be implemented by the European Commission, the Member States and the industry itself.
In addition, on 1 October 2008, the European Commission launched the PLATINA project in a bid to further boost the promotion of inland waterway transport by providing an effective platform to support the implementation of NAIADES. The project, which brings together 22 partners from 9 European countries, has received funding of € 8.5 million from the Commission.
The European Commission is also promoting inland waterway transport through the Marco Polo programme, the European Union's funding programme for projects which shift freight transport from the road to sea, rail and inland waterways.
Danube Strategy: Transport ministers to cooperate on navigability
On the initiative of the Commission, the transport ministers of the riparian states of the Danube met for the first time on 7 June 2012 in Luxembourg and agreed on a declaration setting out a number of commitments to avoid a repeat of last autumn's navigation standstills on the river. The declaration reasserts existing obligations to maintain the fairway to a good standard and undertakes measures to tackle problems like low water or ice. The ministers of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia signed the declaration, while Serbia and BiH have sent letters of support for the declaration. Hungary has not yet signed the declaration. The ministers agreed to meet again, and to coordinate actions through the structures of the Danube Strategy and the Trans-European Transport Network Coordinator for Inland Waterways.
Signed Declaration [333 KB]