On 17 January 2006, the European Commission published a Communication ‘on the promotion of inland waterways transport "NAIADES" - an Integrated European Action Programme for inland waterway transport'. "NAIADES" stands for Navigation And Inland waterway Action and Development in Europe (IWW-001). Member States and the industry have been closely involved in the creation of the action plan.
In order to allow inland navigation to reach its full potential and to contribute fully to the European goals in transport, certain preconditions need to be improved. In its Communication, the Commission presented an integrated action plan with five strategic domains:
- Jobs and skills
In addition, some proposals were made to modernise the organisational structure, which is essential for the execution of the plan. On the basis of the action plan, the Commission could propose new legislative proposals and introduce policy measures, if necessary. The period runs from 2006 until 2013. In accordance with the principle of subsidiary, the action plan is applicable to all levels of responsibility within inland navigation: the industry, including social partners; Member States, which are responsible for the infrastructure network; the European Commission and other institutions. In cooperation with all these actors, the Commission follows up the execution of the action plan. The first progress report was published on 5 December 2007 (IWW-002).
In addition to NAIADES, the European Commission launched the PLATINA project on 1 October 2008. This project gives technical and organisational support on the implementation of NAIADES. Furthermore, the PLATINA project sets up an information service of inland navigation and an inland navigation education network, and gives also technical support to the further development of the River Information Services (see also: ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/inland/promotion_en).
As already mentioned, the programme ends in 2013. In the 2011 Transport Policy White Paper (see chapter 7, WHP), there were already ideas for a successor of the present NAIADES programme. Together with the feedback from stakeholders following various rounds of consultation on the policy measures to tackle the challenges in the inland navigation sector, the Commission issued a staff working document on 31 May 2012. This document defines a number of orientations and stepping stones towards the adoption of NAIADES II. The Commission is expected to produce this programme in 2013. The focus would be mainly on:
- Infrastructure: planned actions for inland navigation under the existing programmes and under the forthcoming instruments of the next multi-annual financial framework for the period 2014-2020
- Market: assistance for integrating inland waterways into the multimodal logistic chains
- Fleet: measures to reduce emissions
- Jobs and skills: actions aimed at increasing harmonisation of standards for professional training and certification
- Information exchange and sharing: review of the River Information Services policy.
Some relevant documents:
IWW-002: Communication from the Commission. First progress report on the implementation of the NAIADES Action Programme for the promotion of inland waterway transport (European Commission)
IWW-001: Communication from the Commission on the promotion of inland waterway transport “NAIADES??. An Integrated European Action Programme for Inland Waterway Transport (European Commission)