Fundamental Rights as the Cornerstone of Schengen

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Series Details Volume 23, Number 4, Pages 508-534
Publication Date 2021
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Although the Schengen Border Code (SBC) explicitly obliges Member States to apply the Schengen rules in full compliance with the fundamental rights, Member States’ adherence to this obligation can be questioned in light of recurrent and reliable reports about fundamental rights violations at the EU’s external borders. This contribution will examine why, apart from the deficiencies in the SCHE-VAL mechanism, the current response towards fundamental rights violations at the border is ineffective.

First, it will analyse the legal framework, including the implementing rules, to see if additional guidance is needed. Second, the enforcement mechanisms will be examined: how are violations being addressed at the national level, and how does the EU Commission perceive and fulfills its role regarding enforcement of compliance? As the Commission has often referred to the monitoring mechanism as proposed in the draft Screening Regulation, the contribution will examine to what extent this New Pact file will help to resolve the current impunity. Finally, the article will analyse the role of Frontex regarding human rights violations by Member States. What is their responsibility, how do they perform it, and who is enforcing compliance by Frontex?

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