Towards a stronger and more resilient Schengen area

Today, the European Commission presented a new Strategy to make – the Schengen area – stronger and more resilient.

The Schengen area, as the largest free travel area in the world, is home to more than 420 million people across 26 countries. The removal, 36 years ago, of internal border controls between Schengen States is now an integral part of the European way of life. People have built their lives around the freedoms offered by the Schengen area, with 3.5 million people crossing between Schengen States every day.

The free flow of people, goods and services is at the heart of the European Union and is key to Europe's recovery after the pandemic. Today's Strategy takes stock of the challenges faced by the Schengen area in recent years, and sets a path forward that maintains the benefits of Schengen. Still, common action is needed at Union level for Member States to cope with today's challenges.

The Strategy aims to:

  • Ensure effective management of the EU's external borders

  • Reinforce the Schengen area internally

  • Improve preparedness and governance

Underpinning a sound functioning of the Schengen area are three pillars: effective management of the EU's external borders, strengthening internal measures to compensate for the absence of internal border controls, in particular on police cooperation, security and migration management, and ensuring robust preparedness and governance, including the completion of Schengen. To foster mutual trust in the implementation of the Schengen rules, the Commission is also presenting today a proposal to revise the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism.

eu-LISA's role in the new strategy is as important as ever. The Agency's mandate, tasks and duties span all three of the strategy's key areas. The Schengen Information System (SIS), set up 25 years ago to support Member State law enforcement cooperation and compensate for the removal of internal border checks, but also the recast of Eurodac, the reinforcement of VIS and the future rollout of new systems (EES, ETIAS and ECRIS-TCN) along with the Interoperability between them all are vital to the strategy's success. The operational management of these, and the foreseen taking over of e-CODEX from the EU's Justice domain, put eu-LISA at the forefront of the European Digital transformation and makes it the Digital Engine of Schengen!

Further reading

Towards a stronger and more resilient Schengen area:

European Institutions; Smart borders; Member States; News