The European Commission has launched a new call for applications for DiscoverEU travel passes, which are available for 20,000 18-year-olds in the EU for trips taking place between August 1, 2019 and January 31, 2020.
The new application round follows a very successful first year for the initiative, said the Commission in a statement. Its purpose is to enable young people to explore cultural diversity and shared values by travelling for free across Europe, mostly by train.
Participants can receive travel advice, travel journals or tips for budget-friendly travel and can also take part in organised community-building events during their trips.
Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Commissioner Tibor Navracsics said: “I am proud to take the DiscoverEU initiative forward and give more young people a chance to have a truly European experience. I hope that becoming part of DiscoverEU will inspire them to become engaged in their communities and become ambassadors for Europe. Whether it’s voting in the European Parliament elections, encouraging their peers to do the same, or working with us to build lively societies. Young people are the future of Europe, and it is critical their voices are heard.”
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.
The Commission launched the initiative in June 2018 with an initial budget of EUR 12 million, and increased the budget for 2019 to EUR 16 million. So far, 30,000 young people have had the opportunity to travel around Europe. A fourth application round is planned to launch before the end of 2019.