Answer – Schengen system – E-000442/2017

The Commission recognises the increased security risk in Europe caused by recent terrorist attacks. Border controls will never be a substitute for close cooperation between relevant law enforcement and security services and exchange of information between them.

The abolition of controls at internal borders does not prevent the police from using their powers. Member States also have many tools for exchanging information and working together (via the Schengen Information System, the passenger name record, the Prüm framework for the exchange of fingerprints, DNA data and vehicle registration data, and based on Articles 39 to 47 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement).

The Commission encourages Member States to use these instruments fully and provides them with support to do so. In this spirit, the Commission recently issued Recommendation encouraging Member States to better use the police powers(1).

Significant progress has also been made in protecting external borders; however, this remains the responsibility of the Member States. With the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the EU-Turkey statement and the ‘hotspot’ approach, the flow of irregular migrants has been reduced and the identification and registration of irregular migrants has improved.

The revised Schengen Borders Code (introducing systematic checks against the relevant databases), progress in negotiating an EU entry/exit system, and the Commission proposal for a European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS) have improved control over who is entering Schengen via border crossing points.

(1) Recommendation of 12 May 2017 C(2017)3349 on proportionate police checks and police cooperation in the Schengen area.
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