While tourism is picking up in Europe and around the world as the pandemic slows down, many young people have not had the opportunity to travel in recent months and to address this, the European Commission is renewing the DiscoverEU initiative.
Young European citizens aged between 18 and 20 will again be able to benefit from the DiscoverEU programme developed by the European Commission from 2022. A total of 60,000 young people will be given passes to travel free of charge throughout Europe, mainly by train, as part of a sustainable approach that is of considerable importance to the younger generation.
Registration opened on 12 October 2021, and interested young travellers have until 26 October 2021 to register and discover the riches of Europe in 2022. Moreover, this year is very significant as it will be the European Year of Youth, making this action even more meaningful. Due to the health crisis that prevented the implementation of this programme for two years in a row, young people aged 19 and 20 are entitled to apply for this edition.
Over the past 18 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.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for the European Way of Life
Successful applicants will be able to travel between March 200 and February 2023 for a period of up to 30 days either alone or with a group of up to 5 people. However, the health crisis is not yet entirely over, so booking and travel conditions are becoming much more flexible, allowing young travellers to change their departure date up until the day before their departure.
In order to help as many people as possible to travel, young people with disabilities are strongly encouraged to take part in this programme and to make this possible the Commission is committed to providing all the necessary information as well as covering the costs related to the assistance of these travellers.
The DiscoverEU programme was launched in 2018 following a proposal from the European Parliament and has been integrated into the new Erasmus+ 2021-2027 programme. It connects hundreds of young Europeans and creates a real community across Europe. Participants in the programme are also invited to become DiscoverEU ambassadors to share their experiences and advice. This is an important exchange, as for many participants this programme represents the opportunity to travel for the first time without their parents or even to leave their home country.
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.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth