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EU distributes travel passes to 18 years old this summer

Young people at the age of 18 can as of today apply for a free ticket giving them the opportunity to discover Europe. The programme, DiscoverEU, aims at enabling them to better understand Europe’s diversity, enjoy its cultural richness, and get a sense of their European identity. “DiscoverEU offers an excellent opportunity to young people to explore Europe through a personal journey in a way that no book or documentary can,” said Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, at a press briefing yesterday (11 June).

With a budget of €12 million in 2018, the programme is expected to give at least 20,000 young people the opportunity to travel around Europe this year. Every EU Member State has been allocated a number of travel passes, based on the share of its country’s population compared to the overall population of the EU.

The programme is limited to EU nationals who will be 18 year old on 1 July 2018, as this age “marks a major step to adulthood and to European citizenship”. Because of budget constrains, 15 000 tickets will be allocated in the first round (12 – 26 June) and 5 000 tickets in Autumn 2018.

If the European Parliament and the Council agree to the proposal, an additional 1.5 million young people are expected to be able to travel between 2021 and 2027, supported by a budget of €700 million.

Young people can travel between a minimum of 1 and up to 30 days. They can visit from 1 to 4 foreign country destinations (only EU 28 Member States) with a travel trip arranged back home. The trip must start between 9 July 2018 and 30 September 2018.

Each participant will be entitled to a travel ticket worth (on average) €255. Participants will, as a basic rule, travel by rail.

The selection of applicants will take place via an online application tool available on the European Youth Portal. Applicants will first have to pass the eligibility criteria check. Then, all applicants will need to answer 5 quiz questions linked to the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.

Finally, they will need to answer a subsidiary question on how many young people they think will apply for this initiative. The correct replies to the quiz and the subsidiary question will allow the European Commission to rank the applicants in case there are more applications than the budget can cater for.  

Commissioner Navracsics described the programme as socially sensitive giving all 18 years old a fair chance to win a ticket and learn more about Europe’s diversity and cultural heritage.

The Brussels Times