Within the framework of the DiscoverEU program, more than 14,500 18-year-old EU citizens will be able to explore Europe this year after winning month-long travel passes, according to a press release on the European Commissionʼs website.
More than 80,000 young people applied for the travel passes by the deadline in December. Taking into account quotas set for each EU Member State and other award criteria, a total of 14,536 young Europeans were selected.
"It is wonderful to see how young Europeans are using DiscoverEU to get to know their continent," said Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. "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 Europeʼs cultures and traditions and connect with other travelers, as well as the communities they are visiting."
The winners will be able to use their DiscoverEU passes for free travel between April 15 and October 31 this year. Pass holders are entitled to travel freely for up to 30 days. Most winners are expected to travel by rail, barring some exceptional cases, according to the press release.
"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," Navracsics added.
In addition to the pass, the winners will receive pre-departure guidance, and will be able to get in touch with each other on social media. Travel pass holders will also be informed of special opportunities, such as price reductions on entry tickets for locations such as museums and cultural sites, as well as participation in learning activities and welcome events organized by locals in the visited cities.