Proposed reform of the Schengen evaluations mechanism: EDPS’s Opinion
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has published his Opinion on the European Commission’s proposal for a new Regulation (repealing Regulation 1053/2013) on the so-called ‘Schengen evaluations’, an evaluation and monitoring mechanism to verify whether the rights and obligations related to Schengen are applied.
The Schengen evaluations mechanism, which evaluates every Member State with regard to the implementation of the Schengen acquis at least once every five years, is carried out jointly by the Commission and Member State experts. The proposed Regulation aims at streamlining the verification procedures of the Schengen evaluations to increase their effectiveness and efficiency.
The EDPS’s Opinion welcomes that the proposal seeks to strengthen both the involvement of Member States and the cooperation between the European institutions, agencies and bodies in the Schengen evaluations. In particular, the Opinion takes positive note of: (i) the goal to put in place measures ensuring that individuals’ fundamental rights are protected in the verification process; (ii) enhancing transparency regarding the sharing of the evaluations’ outcome; and (iii) the proposed synergy with other evaluation and monitoring mechanisms, which will contribute to upholding the rights and obligations related to Schengen.
The Opinion includes certain recommendations for improvement of the Commission’s proposal, namely:
- Defining in a clearer way the scope of the Schengen evaluations, by drawing up a non-exhaustive list of relevant policy fields that would be subject to evaluation.
- Clarifying that the reformed mechanism will also continue to provide for evaluations dedicated to data protection, carried out by data protection experts.
- Demarcating the roles and responsibilities of the European institutions, agencies and bodies involved in the Schengen evaluations to ensure legal certainty, as well as guaranteeing the EDPS’ independence when he performs his supervisory tasks in this context.
The Opinion is available here.