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Project News: Study for the European Parliament on strengthening evaluation of Schengen implementation

1 December 2020

Free movement in the Schengen area is a key achievement of EU integration. The Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism (SEMM) is important to ensuring the trust among Member States that is fundamental for the removal of internal borders. ICMPD has assessed the current approach in a new report.

ICMPD’s Policy Unit has co-authored a new study offering recommendations to the European Parliament on strengthening evaluation of the implementation of the Schengen aquis. This new report, The state of play of Schengen governance - An assessment of the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism in its first multiannual programme, was prepared in cooperation with the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). It examines the SEMM, which assesses implementation of the Schengen acquis, in its first multiannual programme (2014-19), identifying which aspects have worked well and where there are areas for improvement. Insights from key stakeholders in the process, including evaluated Member States, expert evaluators and European Commission officials, were central to informing the analysis of this less-researched aspect of Schengen.

Unlike other policy areas where the European Commission acts as the guardian of the treaties, the Schengen acquis is evaluated via a joint effort of the Commission and Member States, with important roles also taken by other EU-level actors. The SEMM in its current form is the result of years of practical experience and political debate. The authors found that, overall, this mechanism constitutes a significant improvement in the evaluation of the Schengen acquis from the previous evaluation system. However, while the SEMM has performed well in its initial 5-year cycle, it has not yet managed to realise its full potential.

With a new 5-year evaluation cycle now upon us, the report provides recommendations on how the European Parliament and other key actors can enact legislative changes, implement procedural adjustments, strengthen the consistency of the instrument and enable SEMM evaluations to draw broader conclusions to benefit the Schengen area more broadly. The authors conclude that “The SEMM can be a particularly useful tool to help find a way out of the current impasse through trust-building measures.”

The study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee). 


Read the full report here.