AUTHOR: Arthur Viorel TULUŞ
Danubius, XXXV, Galaţi, 2017, pp. 117-132.
The Black Sea came back into the attention of European diplomacy in the first half of the XIXth century, on the background of tsarist Russia’s expansion politics towards the Straits, with domination of the Mouths of the Danube being a mandatory step in that direction. Simultaneously, the Black Sea had also become important to the West because of the grains market. The necessity of resettling a regional power balance and of securing a new access way to this market determined the Great western Powers in the Paris Peace Treaty (March 30th 1856) at the end of the Crimean War to innovate the juridical matters of navigational freedom on rivers that were considered to be international. The European Commission of the Danube was thusly created in 1856, and similar models were extended onto other navigational systems at the end of the First World War, including that over the Black Sea Straits. After 1918, newly emerged national states saw the internationalization of waterways found on their territory as infringements on their sovereignty and consequently demanded modifications in the regime. Nicolae Titulescu, the great Romanian diplomat, placed himself on such a position, supporting the disestablishment of the International Straits Commission (at the 1936 Montreux negotiations) and of the European Commission of the Danube. Still, such demands were potentially revisionist and added to the ruin of the Versailles system. Our study aims at analysing the causes and the historical and juridical contexts of imposing an international navigation regime on the Danube and the Straits, at regarding the legitimacy of Titulescu’s actions in this matter, andthe political and juridical consequences compelled by possible modifications in the status of the Mouths of the Danube and of the Straits.