Danube Research - Danube transport & navigation consultants

The Commissions of the River Danube


The Commissions of the Danube

With the advent of steam the importance of the River Danube as a main trade artery between Central Europe and the East grew, however there were two major obstacles: navigation was inherently dangerous in places and there was considerable political obstruction. For trade to grow and navigational conditions to improve, an international agency was required to administer the navigation of the Danube in the interests of all countries. This is a broad theory behind certain Commissions of the Danube. The reality of course is far more complex and rarely were the interests of all nations fully represented.



Summary History of the Commissions of the River Danube 1856 - 1948


· 1856 Treaty of Paris: European Commission of the Danube established; Russian boundary withdrawn 20 km north of the Danube 

· 1857 Riparian states meet in Vienna to regulate whole river from Ulm to Braila - largely unsuccessful due to the dominance of Austria-Hungary

· 1870 Sulina declared a freeport - therefore cargo could pass up the river without formality

· 1878 Treaty of Berlin: European Commission's rights and privileges extended; lower Danube neutralised; Romania becomes full member of the Commission following her independence; Russia again a Danubian country after war with Turkey in 1877

· 1895-99 Blasting and canal construction along the Iron Gates section of the river somewhat improves navigation

· 1902 Final Sulina arm cut-off completed, thus shortening the river by 11 nautical miles

· 1919 Treaty of Versailles grants four rivers including the Danube "international" status

· 1921 European Commission of the Danube resumes operations; new International Commission of the Danube set up for the "fluvial" river from Ulm to Braila

· 1939-44/5 Danube under German control

· 1948 Treaty of Belgrade: new Danube Commission is established to regulate whole navigable river, composed only of riparian states, except for Germany (or Austria, at first)


Historical Research into the Commissions of the River Danube

To date, the staff of Danube Research have carried out much work looking into the history of the Danube Commissions. We have presented at international conferences and had papers published on the subject, at present we are looking at the vast archives of the European Commission of the Danube in Galati for a major research project.

European Commission of the Danube

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