EU involvement

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The EU is involved in River Information Services (RIS) by way of:
- policy development
- legislation
- assistance for research and development (i.e Connecting Europe Facility and Horizon 2020)
- monitoring the implementation of legislation.

Policy development

The European transport policy supports RIS development on European waterways from Class IV onwards. It supports RIS not only with regards to safety and environmental protection, but also with regards to efficiency of inland navigation. The White Paper “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area" highlights the importance of having integrated multimodal services across the EU.

In September 2013 the European Commission adopted the NAIADES II package "Towards quality inland waterway transport", which stresses the need of further development in – amongst others –the area of logistics.

The evaluation of the RIS policy and its implementation was completed, the next step will be the revision of the RIS Directive in order to be able to reap more benefits of the investments already made and to keep up with technical development.

Legislative Framework of the European Union
On October 20th 2005, the EU RIS Framework Directive of the European Union (2005/44/EC - OJ L 255,30.09.2005) entered into force. The Directive is applicable to all interconnected waterways of class IV or higher across the European Union and provides binding rules for the authorities on the implementation of RIS services according to agreed regulations.

The European Commission has published the RIS Guidelines, but also Commission Regulations regarding all RIS key technologies (Vessel Tracking and Tracing (VTT), Notices to Skippers (NtS), Electronic Reporting International (ERI) and Inland Electronic Chart Display and Information System (Inland ECDIS)). See further legislation.

Objectives of the RIS Directive:
  • to provide a European framework for the implementation of the RIS concept.
  • to encourage European suppliers of equipment to produce hardware and software for the inland waterway sector at reasonable and affordable price and to direct their attention on the development and supply of RIS technology as a market opportunity for European business.
  • RIS applications to be interoperable and compatible on a national as well as European level in order to allow continuous cross-border traffic without technical obstacles (seamless transportation along the corridors).
  • to harmonize data exchange and communication on a European level in order to facilitate the interoperability of the entire system.
The importance of RIS is also underlined by one of ten Juncker priorities, the Digital Single Market Strategy*With the digital strategy specifically developed for the inland waterway sector (DINA), the aim is to interconnect information on infrastructure, people, vessels, management, operations and cargo, to improve data gathering through smart, monitoring-enabled components and actors, to use ITS-enabled tools for operations and management, as well as to interconnect with Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) of other modes of transport.

R&D and implementation assistance
The major European funds supporting RIS implementation are the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the Structural and Cohesion Funds, the Instrument for Pre-Accession Aid (IPA II), as well as the Horizon 2020 Programme. See more information on the support programmes. 
See more information on the support programmes   

Monitoring the execution of legislation.
An important task of the European Commission is to monitor the implementation of legislation, i.e. the implementation of the RIS Directive. If EU Member States do not fulfill the requirements of the EU legislation this could lead to an infringement procedure.

*Staff Working Document (2015) 100