This article is presented to you in association with the European Commission.
The Commission will provide free rail passes to 60,000 Europeans between the ages of 18 and 20, thanks to DiscoverEU. Applications open tomorrow 12 October at noon and close on 26 October at noon for a travel period in 2022, which will be the European Year of Youth.
Vice-President for the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas noted: âOver the past 18 months, in a true spirit of solidarity, our young people have sacrificed precious and decisive moments in their lives. I am delighted that the Commission is now proposing a European boom in mobility with the 60,000 train passes. This European boom in mobility and opportunities will be further fostered by Erasmus + and many other initiatives to come for the European Year of Youth in 2022. “
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, noted: âI am very happy to open this new cycle of DiscoverEU to give 60,000 young people the chance to discover the richness of our continent. In the spirit of the Commission designating 2022 as the European Year of Youth, DiscoverEU is back, bigger than ever, with new opportunities for young people to take a train, broaden their horizons, deepen their learning, ” enrich their experiences and meet other Europeans traveling by rail from March 2022.
This the application round is open to young Europeans born between July 1, 2001 and December 31, 2003. Exceptionally, young people aged 19 and 20 can also apply after their tests have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Successful applicants can travel between March 2022 and February 2023 for up to 30 days. As the course of the pandemic remains unknown, all travelers will be offered flexible bookings via a new mobile ticket. The departure date can be changed up to the time of departure. Mobile tickets are valid for one year. The Commission advises all travelers to check for any travel restrictions on ReopenEU.
Young people with special needs are strongly encouraged to participate in DiscoverEU. The Commission will provide them with information and advice and cover the costs of special assistance, such as an attendant, assistance dog, etc.
Successful applicants can travel alone or in groups of up to five people (all within the eligible age group). To strengthen sustainable travel – and thus support the European Green Deal, DiscoverEU participants will travel mainly by train. However, to ensure wide access across the EU, participants can also use alternative modes of transport, such as coaches or ferries, or exceptionally, airplanes. This will ensure that young people living in remote areas or on islands also have the opportunity to participate.
Each Member State is allocated a certain number of tickets, depending on its population, in proportion to the total population of the European Union.
The Commission has launched DiscoverEU in June 2018, on a proposal from the European Parliament. It was formally integrated into the new Erasmus + program 2021-2027.
DiscoverEU connects thousands of young people, creating a community across Europe. Participants who had never met before connected on social media, exchanged tips or offered local ideas, formed groups to travel from city to city or stayed with each other.
In 2018-2019, 350,000 applicants applied for a total of 70,000 available tickets: 66% of applicants traveled for the first time by train outside their country of residence. For many, it was also the first time they had traveled without parents or accompanying adults, and the majority reported that they had become more independent. The DiscoverEU experience gave them a better understanding of other cultures and European history. It also improved their foreign language skills. Two-thirds said they could not have financed their travel ticket without DiscoverEU.
As of 2018, former and future DiscoverEU travelers now form a diverse and engaged community that comes together online and offline to share their experiences.
Participants are invited to become DiscoverEU Ambassadors to champion the initiative. They are also encouraged to contact other travelers on the official website DiscoverEU Group Online to share experiences and exchange advice, especially on cultural experiences, or on how to travel digitally and sustainably.
To apply, eligible applicants must take a multiple choice quiz on general knowledge about the European Union and other EU initiatives targeting young people. An additional question invites applicants to estimate the number of people applying in this round. The closer the estimate is to the correct answer, the more points the candidate obtains. This will allow the Commission to rank the candidates. The Commission will offer tickets to candidates according to their ranking, until the available tickets are exhausted.