Around 20,000 18-year-olds are set to receive a travel pass to Europe under the fourth and latest round of DiscoverEU, which attracted some 75,000 applications from across Europe, the European Commission recently announced.
These young Europeans, selected on the basis of established award criteria and specific Member State quotas, can travel between 1 April and 31 October 2020 for up to 30 days.
“They will also become part of a wider informal and inclusive network that explores what it means to discover our continent, its richness, diversity and solidarity,” Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, responsible for Promoting Our European Way of Life, said.
The applicants will now be contacted and can start arranging their trips. As a rule, they travel by rail; however, to ensure inclusive access across the continent alternative modes of transport, such as buses, ferries, or exceptionally, planes, are also an option.
With the travel pass, participants also receive support and guidance on, for example, sustainable travel. The young people are also invited to become a DiscoverEU Ambassador, and report on their experiences. They are also encouraged to contact fellow travellers on social media and share their stories.
In addition, all participants are invited to attend DiscoverEU meetups at various locations across Europe over the summer. Meetups deal with topics such as a sustainable green Europe -the DiscoverEU theme for 2020. Other activities include volunteering opportunities and the development of a green itinerary for the young travellers.
The Commission launched DiscoverEU in June 2018 following a proposal from the European Parliament. The first three application rounds have given around 50,000 young people the opportunity to travel around Europe. For 2020, the European Parliament has earmarked 25 million euros for DiscoverEU. The next application round and further updates will be announced by the Commission on the European Youth Portal in due course.
It should be noted that in May 2018, the Commission proposed to include DiscoverEU as an integral part of the future Erasmus programme for 2021-2027. Subject to agreement by the European Parliament and the Council, this would allow hundreds of thousands more 18 year-olds to benefit from the initiative over those seven years.