The European Commission is giving away 60,000 free train tickets to young people, allowing free train travel across Europe for up to a month with the aim of enabling them to get to know their own continent.
In announcing the competition, Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas said: During the Corona pandemic, our youth showed true solidarity, sacrificing precious moments of their youth due to the outbreak of the pandemic. The purpose of the initiative is to revive mobility in Europe.
The application process opens at midday on Tuesday, and applicants must be between 18 and 20 years old and hold citizenship of an EU member state, and they will also have to take a test with questions about the EU to be eligible for tickets.
Winners will be able to travel throughout the European Union for free for up to 30 days between March 2022 and February 2023, and these tickets are not only limited to trains, but free ticket holders will also be able to take buses and ferries.
The program is usually reserved for 18-year-olds only, but this time, 19-20-year-olds will also be eligible to participate, because the last two rounds have been suspended amid the pandemic.
Besides, young people from the UK will also get a chance to apply for the last time, despite Brexit, given that UK youth were eligible in 2020 when the tour was canceled due to COVID-19. Funding for that year has therefore been moved to 2021.
The initiative, called DiscoverEU, was launched as a preparatory measure initiated by the European Parliament between 2018 and 2020, and the plan was to provide travel and mobility opportunities for young people reaching 18, the legal age of majority.
It is reported that in the first round in 2018 and 2019, about 350,000 young Europeans applied for travel permits, according to the Commission.
About 66 percent of respondents said they are traveling abroad by train for the first time. In addition, two-thirds of respondents said they were unable to finance the travel themselves.