Schengen: New rules to make the area without internal border controls more resilient

​Today, the Commission proposed updated rules to reinforce the governance of the Schengen area. The targeted changes will bring greater EU coordination and better equip Member States to deal with emerging challenges when managing both the EU's common external border and internal borders within the Schengen area. The update seeks to ensure that reintroducing internal border controls remains a measure of last resort. The new rules also introduce common tools to manage the external borders more efficiently in case of a public health crisis, building on the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic. The instrumentalisation of migrants is also addressed in the update to the Schengen rules, as well as through a parallel proposal for measures Member States can take in the fields of asylum and return in such a situation.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “The pandemic has shown very clearly that the Schengen area is key for our economies and societies. With our proposals today, we will ensure that border controls are introduced as a last resort, based on a common assessment and for only as long as needed. We are giving Member States the tools to address the challenges they face. And we are also ensuring we manage the EU's external borders together, including in situations where migrants are instrumentalised for political purposes.

New rules to promote effective alternatives to internal border checks

The proposal seeks to promote the use of alternative measures to internal border controls and ensure that – where they are necessary - internal border controls remain a measure of last resort. The measures include:

  • More structured procedure for any reintroduction of internal border controls, with more safeguards
  • Promoting the use of alternative measures
  • Limiting the impact of internal border checks on border regions
  • Addressing unauthorised movements within the Schengen area

eu-LISA plays a key role in border management and internal security in Europe. With the IT systems it develops and manages as well as the foreseen Interoperability between them, eu-LISA ensures that both law enforcement and border management authorities have up-to-date unified European data at their disposal, making their jobs easier and Europe's citizens safer.

Next steps

It is now for the European Parliament and Council to examine and adopt the two proposals.

Further Readings

European Institutions; Member States; Smart borders