The Government approved an agreement between the Czech Republic and Germany on the Elbe inland water3/5/2021|Press releasesThe agreement aims to ensure and maintain navigation on Elbe according to fixed parameters from Pardubice to Hamburg. It will allow using Elbe for an eco-friendly freight transport, combining transport with water management and preserving valuable nature. “Elbe is an important European river; both the Czech Republic and Germany are responsible for preserving it. Navigation on Elbe will allow operation of eco-friendly water transport and improve conditions for international business as well as tourism in the Czech Republic. A key for us is also that Germany is willing to take care of problematic sections and guarantee the necessary depth for navigation. The agreement also brings some certainty in term of planning investments into water transport and harbour infrastructure. Together with my colleague, German minister Andreas Scheuer, we are looking forward to sign it”, said minister of transport Karel Havlíček. The Czech Republic should prepare navigation route parameters, according to relevant documents currently in force, on the section from Ústí nad Labem to state borders with Germany. The next section from Ústí nad Labem to Týnec nad Labem will follow current waterway parameters with navigation depth of 230 cm. At the same time, it will provide for measures between Týnec nad Labem and Pardubice to allow navigation depth of 230 cm to Pardubice. The maintenance goal on the German side of Elbe is navigation depth of 140 cm, which corresponds to the German strategy document “Gesamtkonzept Elbe”. Apart from the navigation route parameters in the Czech Republic and Germany, the agreement anticipates establishment of a Joint Committee, which will monitor the navigation route parameters and propose improvement measures. The agreement has been concluded after many years of negotiations. In 2006, the Ministry of Transport and the former Federal Ministry of Transport, Construction and Housing issued a joint statement on cooperation and transport goals and measures on Elbe waterway up to Geesthacht locks by Hamburg. The statement defined target parameters of Elbe waterway in the Czech Republic and Germany, yet it is not a binding document in the sense of international law. In mid-November 2017, the representatives of the Czech and German ministries of transport agreed to prepare a new international agreement that will ensure navigation on Elbe on both sides of the borders. The Agreement will ensure that the water transport on Elbe becomes a binding document in the sense of international law, as it is for example on Rhine, Danube or Moselle and other international waterways in the EU, which have already been safeguarded by a similar agreement. The maintenance of Elbe is important in all dimensions – transport, water management, hydrological and ecological. This Agreement on water transport is the missing part in the Czech Republic’s and Germany’s effort to mutual maintenance of Elbe in all dimensions of sustainable development. Elbe is part of a network of the most important road and railway corridors, international airports and waterways (TEN-T). The Agreement will complement already existing maintenance tools on Elbe, i.e. Agreement between the Czech Republic and Germany on border waters in the segment of water management from 1995 and Convention on the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe from 1990. Immediately after the signature of the Agreement, the Ministry of Transport will initiate negotiations with the German side about harbour territory, which the city of Hamburg offered to the Czech Republic in exchange for harbour territories leased to the Czech Republic for 99 years after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.