The European Commission has announced that it is providing free travel rail passes to 60,000 Europeans aged 18 to 20, as part of the DiscoverEU initative.
Applications opened today, Tuesday 12 October, and close on Tuesday 26 October 2021, at noon, for a travel period in 2022, which will be the European Year of Youth.
Every European Union (EU) Member State will be allocated a number of travel passes based on its population. Under the previous four application rounds in 2018 and 2019, 84 young people out of 479 applicants from Luxembourg were selected for DiscoverEU. It is not yet clear how many will be allocated to Luxembourg this year.
Vice-President for the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, commented: "Over the past eighteen months, in a true spirit of solidarity, our young people have sacrificed valuable youthful and defining moments of their lives. I am delighted that the Commission offers today a European boom of mobility with the 60,000 train passes. This European boom of mobility and opportunities will be further fostered by Erasmus+ and many more initiatives coming for the European Year of Youth in 2022".
European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, added: "I am very glad to open this new round 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 the European Year of Youth, DiscoverEU is back, bigger than ever, with new opportunities for young people to take a train, broaden their horizons, extend their learning, enrich their experiences and meet fellow Europeans while travelling by rail as of March 2022".
This application round is open to young Europeans born between 1 July 2001 and 31 December 2003. Exceptionally, 19 and 20 year-olds can also apply after their rounds were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Successful applicants can travel between March 2022 and February 2023 for up to 30 days. As the evolution of the pandemic remains unknown, all travellers will be offered flexible bookings through a new mobile travel pass. The departure date can be changed right up until the time of departure. The mobile travel passes have a one-year validity.
Young people with special needs are strongly encouraged to participate in DiscoverEU. The Commission will put information and tips at their disposal and cover the costs of special assistance, such as an accompanying person or an assistance dog.
Successful applicants can travel alone or in a group of up to five people (all within the eligible age range). To reinforce sustainable travel (and thereby support the European Green Deal), DiscoverEU participants will predominantly travel by rail. However, to ensure wide access across the EU, participants can also use alternative modes of transport, such as coaches or ferries, or exceptionally, aeroplanes. This is aimed at ensuring that young people living in remote areas or on islands also have a chance to take part.
To apply, visit: https://europa.eu/youth/discovereu_en.