On 28 January Assya Kavrakova was invited as a speaker by CEPS to the lunchtime debate on Schengen hosted by Carlos Coelho MEP at the European Parliament, as part of the SOURCE project.
The discussion was moderated by the EU Observer journalist Nikolaj Nielsen and included as guest speakers the Executive Director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, Professor Groenendijk at the University of Nijmegen, and the Head of the Justice and Home Affairs Programme at CEPS, Sergio Carrera.
The debate examined the state of play and latest developments in the Schengen system during 2015 and 2016 and the measures that have been put forward to address the migration and security challenges. The debate focused in particular on the recent proposal for establishing a common European border and coast guard which will revise and strengthen the current competences of Frontex, and other initiatives on strengthening the Schengen external borders, such as the amendment of the Schengen Border Code.
ECAS’ Director made the following four key points in her intervention:
- The current free movement crisis has an impact on EU identity. In time when there is a dare need for re-building citizens’ trust in the European project, rolling back the greatest achievement for citizens by re-introducing borders is very dangerous;
- It is time to dispel the myth that one-size-fits-all policy delivers in the EU. Member States have different implementation capacities due to historical and cultural differences and a new approach is needed which aims at ensuring convergence in the outcomes rather than in the means;
- Efficiency requires not to set up new structures unless the ones that already exist are fully utilised. It is disappointing to discover that countries in the heart of Europe do not yet have the necessary legislative and procedural framework in place to take full advantage of the Schengen Informational System (SIS). There is a need to step up efforts in this respect;
- Proportionality is a must when adopting new measures to strengthen security in order to ensure that there is no risk for shrinking citizens’ space in terms of rights and freedoms.