DiscoverEU If you’re 18 and a resident in an Erasmus+ Programme country, it’s time to expand your comfort zone
DiscoverEU, the Commission’s action that allows 18-years-olds to explore Europe mostly by train, is opening its first application round of 2022. From tomorrow 7 April at noon until 21 April at noon, young people living in Erasmus+ programme countries will be able to apply for one of 35,000 free travel passes.
This year’s round marks the entry of DiscoverEU in Erasmus+. With this change and through the exceptional funding under the European Year of Youth 2022, 70,000 travel passes will be made available in 2022: 35,000 in the application round announced today and another 35,000 in an application round, foreseen for October. The integration into Erasmus+ also opens the door to applicants from Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Turkey, who will be able to join the action for the first time.
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “DiscoverEU gives more opportunities to travel to young people than ever before. With the European Year of Youth, we celebrate youth. We owe this to an entire generation that could not travel for the last two years. Good luck to all!”
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “Today, we are offering 35,000 travel opportunities throughout Europe for 18-year-olds, adding to the 130,000 already allocated since 2018. Our aim is to give as many young people as possible the chance to travel, discover new places and make life-lasting encounters. All the best to all participants!”
Applicants who have successfully filled in the selection quiz, born between 1 July 2003 and 30 June 2004 will be able to travel in Europe for up to 30 days during the travel period 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023. Those turning 18 in the second half of the year will be able to apply in the October round.
In addition, recipients of the travel pass will now also receive a DiscoverEU discount card. This new feature will give access to more than 40,000 discount possibilities on public transport, culture, accommodation, food, sports and other services available in all eligible countries.
In order to increase the learning dimension of the DiscoverEU experience, Erasmus+ National Agencies will facilitate information meetings and meet-ups to prepare young travellers for their journey and to create a peer-to-peer learning experience. Through these meetings, DiscoverEU aims to promote discussions on sustainability, culture, and European identity, among others. Inclusion is particularly in focus. Participants with disabilities or health issues can be accompanied on their journeys. Apart from the travel costs, additional individual help is also provided.
The Commission encourages sustainable travel by rail. Exceptions are made for those who have difficulties reaching mainland Europe to start their train travel. Therefore, special arrangements are available for young people from outermost regions, Overseas Counties and Territories, remote areas and islands.
Since 2018, more than 860,000 candidates applied for 130,000 travel passes available: according to the past travel survey, 66% of candidates declared that they travelled for the first time by train out of their country of residence. For many, it was also the first time they travelled without parents or accompanying adults and the majority indicated that they had become more independent.
The DiscoverEU experience has given them a better understanding of other cultures and of European history. It has also improved their foreign language skills. Two-thirds said that they would not have been able to finance their travel pass without DiscoverEU. Participants are invited to become DiscoverEU Ambassadors to champion the initiative. They are also encouraged to contact fellow travellers on the official DiscoverEU group online to share experiences and exchange tips, particularly on cultural experiences, or on how to travel digitally and sustainably.
To apply, eligible candidates need to complete a multiple-choice quiz on general knowledge about the European Union and other EU initiatives targeting young people. An additional question invites applicants to make an estimate of how many people apply in this round who are born on a Tuesday. The closer the estimate is to the correct answer, the more points the applicant gets. This will enable the Commission to rank the applicants. The Commission will offer travel passes to applicants following their ranking, until the available tickets run out.