Migration and Home Affairs

Towards a stronger and more resilient Schengen area

Wednesday, 2 June, 2021

The new Strategy on the Schengen area will make the EU's free travel space stronger and more resilient. While the foundations of the Schengen area have proven solid, improvements are necessary to make sure Europeans can continue reaping the benefits of unfettered movement in the future.

The Strategy aims to:

Ensure effective
management of the EU’s
external borders
Strengthen internal measures on police cooperation, security and migration management Improve Schengen preparedness and governance Complete the enlargement
of the Schengen area

Key facts

  • Schengen includes 26 European countries and 420 million people
  • Almost 1.7 million people reside in one Schengen country while working in another
  • Every day around 3.5 million people cross internal Schengen-area borders
  • Economic benefits: since the establishment of Schengen, intra-European trade has increased over time, facilitating the growth of European businesses
  • Delays at the borders would have a substantial impact on the EU. The Commission has estimated the cost of ‘non-Schengen’ to range between €5 and €18 billion per year

A revised evaluation mechanism for enhanced trust

The Schengen Evaluation and Monitoring Mechanism is a peer-to-peer review mechanism aimed at verifying that Member States correctly implement the Schengen rules, based on evaluations by teams of trained experts from the Commission and the Member States. If the experts identify deficiencies, the evaluated Member State will receive recommendations and will have to report back on the actions taken to remedy these deficiencies.
While the mechanism has led to substantial improvements, the evaluation process remains too slow, with limited pressure put on the follow up given to recommendations. To address these shortcomings and foster common trust in the implementation of the Schengen rules, the mechanism will be revised.

The changes will:

  • Significantly accelerate the evaluation process, helping to identify and address shortcomings quickly
  • Foster political dialogue on the results of evaluations and adequate follow up in case of deficiencies
  • Strengthen the evaluation of the respect for fundamental rights

How will Schengen evaluations work in practice?

Each Member State is evaluated regularly, at least twice every 7 years

Fast track procedure in case of serious deficiencies

More information