More than 14,500 18-year-olds have been selected to receive the DiscoverEU travel pass, which allows them to travel freely around Europe.
The second round of the DiscoverEU initiative, first launched by the European Commission in June 2018 with a budget of €12 million, received over 80,000 applications from young people and small groups across the EU in December 2018. In total 14,536 applicants have been selected to receive a DiscoverEU travel pass, which will entitle them to EU-wide travel for between one day and one month between 15 April and 31 October 2019, up to the value of €260.
DiscoverEU travel pass recipients, chosen based on online applications and Member State quotas, may travel alone or in groups of up to five; primarily by rail. In addition to the pass, DiscoverEU will provide pre-travel guidance and the opportunity to connect with each other on social media; as well as special offers such as reduced costs of entry to museums and galleries, learning events and locally organised welcome events.
Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport,said: “It is wonderful to see how young Europeans are using the DiscoverEU travel pass to get to know their continent. In total, almost 180,000 young people from all over Europe have applied during the two rounds in 2018; and thanks to this initiative, we will have so far given around 30,000 young people the chance to explore Europe’s cultures and traditions and connect with other travellers, as well as the communities they are visiting. It is inspiring to see how young people are exploring Europe through a personal journey. DiscoverEU allows them to plan their own trips, share their stories on social media and make new friends.”
The first round of the programme, which saw 15,000 18-year-olds receive a DiscoverEU travel pass in summer 2018, has received chiefly positive feedback; with participants highlighting the opportunities provided for independence – many participants had not previously travelled abroad without their parents or other adults – and cultural education. The European Parliament has approved €16 million for the 2019 cohort of DiscoverEU, with the next round of applications expected this summer.