Democracy and participation

SchengenWatch - people for a border-free EU shortlist


Who is behind this?

Jon Worth

European Movement International


Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

1.7 million Europeans cross a border every day, but countries are re-imposing border controls and the very future of a borderless EU, guaranteed by the Schengen Agreement, is currently in question. SchengenWatch will network people together who care about this and want to see no re-imposition of borders – by informing them of their rights, monitoring what is actually happening at borders, and pushing the European Commission to make Schengen work again!

Where will your idea take place?

At borders between EU countries in the Schengen Area

Why does Europe need your idea?

News about Schengen being under threat fills the newspapers. But closed borders is actually about the everyday lives of millions of Europeans – the 1.7 million people who cross a border in the EU every day. We want the voices of those people, and their experiences, heard in the debate – that is the crucial challenge to overcome. This is about connecting the reality on the ground with the high level politics of the issue in Brussels.

What is your impact?

A change in the narrative about Schengen and borders - from the current national and security-driven debate - to one where the everyday life in border regions and of people crossing borders on everyday basis is actually understood. We want to make EU citizens aware and ready to challenge the re-imposition of border controls mandated with no understanding for what those who cross borders actually need or want, and make their voice heard within the EU institutions in Brussels.

How do you get there?

The project has four components, all connected through online communication and the dedicated website Firstly, the state of Schengen and the temporary re-imposition of border controls needs to be mapped and explained – the European Commission and news outlets do not systematically do this. Secondly, the legal framework for Schengen needs to be thoroughly researched and explained (completion of “Your Rights” page – Thirdly, information on where border controls continue to happen will be crowdsourced (stepping up of efforts already happening at SchengenWatch site). Fourth, a small investigative journalism live project component at the borders to confirm the reality at the border matches what should happen.

What is your story?


Who are you doing it for?

For everyone that crosses borders within the Schengen zone, and will be delayed and inconvenienced by the re-imposition of border controls. This is especially important for Europeans who live close to a border, but also impacts tourists, business travellers, and even trade in goods, which all may face significant obstacles if border controls are re-imposed.

What makes your idea stand apart?

There is no citizen activism about borders and Schengen, only media attention to the problem and political argument about it in Brussels and national capitals. This project allows normal people whose lives are affected by border closures to report what is happening where they are, and use this to build political pressure on the EU institutions to protect Schengen. No other project is making this citizen-Schengen connection.

€ 48000,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 48000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

12000 Communications and promotion (drafting of content, social media promotion, crowdsourcing of cases) 5000 Refresh of the website and associated apps 6000 6 trips to the borders of where problems occur (Travel, accommodation, per diems) 22000 Staff costs 2000 Brussels Advocacy work 1000 Coordination meeting

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

The way Schengen works – legally – is much more complicated than meets the eye. So ways to make it simple and digestible would be most welcome. Tips on improving the effectiveness of crowdsourcing of information would also be welcome. The language knowledge of the Advocate Europe community would also be helpful to understand the news and political situation in national contexts.



Idea created on March 7, 2016
Last edit on Oct. 30, 2017

Write comment