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MEPs Approve New Schengen Evaluation & Monitoring Mechanism, Insist on Stricter Rules

The EU Parliament members of the Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee adopted the reform of the Schengen Evaluation and Monitoring Mechanism, with 50 votes in favour, 13 against, and four abstentions.

Adopting the reform, the commission also called for stricter rules on the mechanism, including here by removing all previous warnings before visits by member states through assessment groups.

At the vote, MEP Sarah Sky Tidal, who is also a rapporteur on the matter, said that the reform proposal would strengthen the Schengen evaluation mechanism in several ways.

“For example, we want to increase the possibility of conducting unannounced assessments, which is necessary to ensure that the Schengen gains are supported in practice. Moreover, we want to establish stricter timelines and clarify the consequences when serious shortcomings are identified.

The Schengen Evaluation and Monitoring Mechanism is a tool of the European Union Commission, which the latter uses to ensure that countries in the Schengen area apply membership rules, among other things, through unannounced visits to member states.

The reforms proposed by the Commission are aimed at making the monitoring process more effective and streamlined and paving the way for flexibly organizing Schengen assessment activities into seven-year cycles.

>> The Council of the European Union adopts a general approach to the Enhanced Schengen Evaluation Mechanism

According to a press release issued by the press room of the European Parliament, during the meeting the members of the commission urged the commission to carry out what he called “really unannounced visits”, eliminating the possibility of notification 24 hours before the visit, which is included in the reform by the commission.

In addition, Parliament is proposing a new category of short-notice visits for random compliance checks, with a 24-hour warning. Parliament also highlighted the need to schedule unannounced visits when internal border controls have been in place for more than 180 days, and when there is evidence of violations of fundamental rights,” the press release notes.

The reforms also provide for simplified procedures after evaluation and immediate identification of discoveries made by member states. MEPs also want the Commission to take into account information provided by third parties, i.e. NGOs and international organisations, when planning assessment and monitoring activities.

In order for the reform to become effective, the European Parliament in plenary must adopt the same. After that, the issue will pass to the hands of the Board, which is responsible for the final approval.

>> The Schengen Area Five-Year Evaluation Report identifies the frequent shortcomings of the Member States

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