International cooperation draws upon the legal basis provided by the Convention on the Protection of the Rhine as well as various European directives and regulations requiring coordinated implementation in the entire watershed, such as the European Water Framework Directive, the European Flood Management Directive, the Eel Regulation and others.
There are no national or international boundaries for water: thus, via the Rhine, water from nine states flows into the North Sea. On its way towards the sea, the water – as well as the river system – is used in various ways. Partly, the different interests in use and protection compete. In these cases, they must be balanced according to river management for the entire watershed, so that resources and the possibilities of future generations to use them are not put at risk. In this connection, transboundary international co-operation of Rhine bordering countries is of particular importance.