WVNTR – Under the first round of the DiscoverEU initiative launched by the European Commission, more than 100,000 young people from all Member States applied during a two-week period which closed on 26 June at 12:00. The final list of winners was confirmed yesterday (27 June) in accordance with the award criteria announced.
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: “I am delighted that 15,000 young people will very shortly be receiving the happy news of their successful bids for a DiscoverEU travel pass. I am confident that their experiences this summer will make a positive change in their lives. The interest in this initiative from young people across Europe has been enormous, and I hope many more of them will make use of this travel opportunity later this year and beyond.”
The 15,000 recipients will now be contacted so they can book their trips. They will be travelling, either alone or in groups of a maximum of five people, for up to 30 days, visiting between one and four European destinations outside their home country. All trips will start between 9 July and 30 September 2018. As a general rule, the young people will be travelling by rail, with alternative modes of transport used in exceptional cases.
Young people will receive travel tickets according to a quota set for each EU Member State. The allocation of the travel tickets is based on the share of Member States’ population compared to the overall population of the European Union. For this round, the quota of travel passes per Member State was reached for all countries.
As 2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage, those travelling will have the chance to participate in the events being organised in the framework of the Year during the summer period. Before they start their trips, they will receive links to useful information on how to prepare their journeys and make the most out of them. This will include for instance tips on itineraries, smart use of the budget available for their trips and passengers’ rights.
With a budget of €12 million in 2018, DiscoverEU is expected to give around 25,000 young people the opportunity to travel around Europe this year. A second application round with up to 10,000 tickets will take place in autumn 2018.
The European Commission intends to develop the initiative and has therefore included it in its proposal for the next Erasmus programme. If the European Parliament and the Council agree to the proposal, an additional 1.5 million 18 year olds are expected to be able to travel between 2021 and 2027, supported by a budget of €700 million during the new financial period.
DiscoverEU is an EU initiative based on a proposal from the European Parliament, which secured its funding for 2018 through a Preparatory Action. The initiative focuses on young people turning 18 as this marks a major step towards adulthood.
The European Commission would like to hear from the young travellers and will encourage them to share their experiences. Participants will be invited to report back on their travel experiences, for example through social media, or by providing a presentation at their school or their local community. They will thus become part of the DiscoverEU community and become ambassadors of the initiative.