State of Schengen Report 2022
On 24 May 2022, the Commission presented the first State of Schengen Report, which assesses the management of internal and external borders by Schengen countries. The report also includes a new proposal on how Schengen countries can improve the management of their external borders - the European Integrated Border Management.
The Schengen area as an area that depends on mutual trust among Member States requires a strong and structured governance. As a result, the Commission established in November 2020 the annual Schengen Forum as the first step towards fostering an inclusive political debate dedicated to building a stronger Schengen area; the Commission also developed a new governance model in the form of a "Schengen cycle" ensuring a regular "health-check" on the state of Schengen.
On the one hand, the annual State of Schengen Report serves to identify current challenges with a view to recommend priority actions for the way forward and, on the other hand, it is a starting point for the Schengen cycle representing the basis for discussions of MEPs and Home Affairs Ministers at the Schengen Forum that convened on 2 June 2022, and in the Schengen Council that took place on 3 June 2022.
The Schengen Report highlighted the following main priority actions for the Schengen area:
- Strengthening the management of the external borders;
- Ensuring that internal border controls are measures of last resort maintained for a limited period and accompanied by mitigating measures, where necessary;
- Establishing internal security through reinforced police cooperation within the EU.
In order to achieve these objectives, swift implementation of some priority actions should be addressed both at EU and national level, such as ensuring orderly checks at external borders for all travelers, making full use of available IT architecture and cross-border cooperation tools, and lifting all long-lasting internal border controls.
The report observed that the Schengen area is in excellent shape as more than 90% of the Schengen acquis is implemented in a compliant manner. The Commission again calls on the Council to take the necessary steps to consolidate the Schengen area by adopting the decision for enabling Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania to become formally part of it.
The report stressed that given the enhanced mandate and significantly reinforced resources, Frontex should ensure its full accountability towards the EU institutions. The Commission will also launch a dialogue with the European Parliament and the Council in relation to the governance of the Agency. Given that the report is to mark the beginning of a new Schengen cycle, the Commission is calling for a stronger cooperation between the Commission, national governments, Frontex and others in the maintaining and monitoring of the Schengen area in this new cycle.
In addition to the State of Schengen Report, the Commission published two documents on external borders checks on 24 May 2022:
- A report on systematic border checks at the EU external borders, which have been reinforced by Regulation 2017/458;
- A Policy Document, the Commission is starting a consultation of the European Parliament and of the Council, that aims to achieve a common understanding between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission with a view to adopt the Multi-annual Strategic Policy for European Integrated Border Management by the end of 2022.