DiscoverEU: 20,000 additional travel passes available for 18-year-olds to experience Europe
Today, the European Commission is launching a new call for applications for DiscoverEU travel passes. All 18-year-olds in the EU, including Ireland have until 16 May 2019 to apply, giving them the opportunity to discover Europe between 1 August 2019 and 31 January 2020.
This new application round follows a very successful first year for the initiative that enables young people to explore Europe’s cultural diversity and shared values. For this second year of DiscoverEU, the European Commission is focusing on enhancing the learning dimension of the project. Participants will be provided with information and travel tips about what to visit in Europe. Those interested can also receive a travel journal for them to record and reflect on their experiences, and will have the possibility to participate in organised community-building events during their trips.
This is great news to see more travel passes are being made available for young people in Ireland and across Europe to travel. The scheme has been a huge success with thousands of Irish people applying for tickets. With more tickets now being made available it means more people can avail of the scheme.
The scheme is a great way to help young Irish people learn about and see other EU countries. There is so much to learn across Europe and a scheme such as this is very welcome in helping young people as they learn and develop. It is great to see so much interest from young people in the scheme and I would encourage the creation of more schemes like this.
Who can apply and how?
Applicants must have been born between 2 July 2000 (included) and 1 July 2001 (included) and be prepared to travel between 1 August 2019 and 31 January 2020 for a maximum period of 30 days. Those interested in taking part can apply via the European Youth Portal. An evaluation committee will assess the applications and select the winners. Applicants will be notified of the selection results in June 2019.
Successful applicants will be able to travel individually or in a group of up to five people. As a general rule, they will travel by rail. However, to ensure wide access across the continent, participants can also use alternative modes of transport, such as buses or ferries or, exceptionally, planes. This will ensure that young people living in remote areas or on islands part of the EU will also have a chance to take part.
DiscoverEU is a travel experience open to young Europeans, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to learn whilst travelling. The Commission launched the initiative in June 2018 with an initial budget of €12 million; the budget for 2019 is €16 million. So far, DiscoverEU has given around 30,000 young people the opportunity to travel around Europe, explores the continent’s rich cultural heritage, get in touch with other people, learn from other cultures and experience what unites Europe. The first year of DiscoverEU brought together thousands of young people building a community across Europe. Participants who had never met before linked up on social media, formed groups to travel from city to city or stayed at each other’s places.
The European Commission is planning to launch a fourth application round before the end of 2019.
The European Commission proposed €700 million for DiscoverEU under the future Erasmus programme in the EU’s next long-term budget (2021-2027). If the European Parliament and the Council agree to this proposal, an additional 1.5 million 18-year-olds would be able to travel between 2021 and 2027.