Second Schengen Forum
After the first Schengen Forum meeting in November 2020 (→ eucrim 4/2020, 272-273), the political dialogue on strengthening the Schengen rules has continued. The Schengen Forum convenes members of parliament and home affairs ministers with the aim of fostering cooperation and political dialogue as well as of building up stronger confidence in the Schengen rules.
The second Schengen Forum was opened on 17 May 2021 with a keynote speech by Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs. Johansson stressed that, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns, the EU and the Schengen area were under a lot of pressure and strain. She pointed out, however, that these challenging times can also be seen as an opportunity for the Schengen community to be reminded of how important Schengen is for the mobility of EU citizens and for the EU economy. The challenges have also shown that there is a need for more cooperation and coordination as well as for better use of new technology in external border management and by European police forces in order to reinforce the Schengen area. According to Johansson, the pandemic has shown that proportionate and coordinated border control measures are usually more effective than unilateral and uncoordinated action taken by individual Member States. Even if rigid controls at internal borders can be justified in acute emergencies, they should be seen as an exception, as they are neither proportionate nor effective. In order to build a more secure Schengen area, the Commissioner also stressed the importance of the launch of the European Travel Authorisation System (ETIAS, → eucrim 2/2018, 82, 84). She announced that the Commission intends to present an Annual State of Schengen Report, which will serve as a basis for a better Schengen evaluation.