Almost 95,000 young people applied in the third round of this new EU initiative for youth. Around 20,000 18-year-old Europeans have now been selected to receive a DiscoverEU travel pass. They will be able to travel between 1 August 2019 and 31 January 2020 for up to 30 days.
The third round of the DiscoverEU initiative attracted applications from almost 95,000 young people from all EU Member States during a two-week period that ended on 16 May 2019. Around 20,000 young people were selected based on the award criteria and taking into account the quota set for each EU Member State.
Commissioner Tibor Navracsics,responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “This month, DiscoverEU is celebrating its first anniversary. In one year, around 275,000 young Europeans applied to become part of the experience, with some 50,000 awarded a travel pass. I am proud to see that more and more young people are exploring the richness of our history and culture, making new friends across borders, becoming more independent and self-reliant, sharing experiences and emotions, and ultimately, discovering themselves.”
The winners of the third round will now be contacted so that they can arrange their trips. They will be able to travel, alone or in groups of maximum five people, between 1 August 2019 and 31 January 2020 for up to 30 days. Most of them will travel by rail, with alternative modes of transport used in exceptional cases.
As well as the travel pass, participants will receive technical support and guidance on topics such as sustainable travel and what it means to be a DiscoverEU Ambassador – they will be invited to report back on their experiences, for example through social media tools like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or by providing a presentation at their school or to their local community. They will also be able to get in touch with their fellow travellers on social media and their stories.
All participants will also be invited to attend the very first DiscoverEU meet-ups that will be taking place in various locations across Europe, on specific themes such as sustainability or cultural heritage. The first meet-up will take place in Nijmegen (Netherlands) on 12 and 13 July with a focus on sustainability.
DiscoverEU is a travel experience for young individuals or small groups, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, which is accessible and simple. It gives 18-year-olds a chance to learn about European cultural heritage and diversity, to connect with other young people and to explore their European identity. The initiative was launched in June 2018, following a proposal from the European Parliament for a Preparatory Action with a budget of €12 million in 2018.
The first two application rounds have given around 30,000 young people the opportunity to travel around Europe. For 2019, the European Parliament has approved €16 million for DiscoverEU. The Commission is planning to launch the next application round before the end of 2019. Specific dates and further information will be announced on the European Youth Portal in due course.
Given the interest shown by young travellers in DiscoverEU, the Commission is working to improve the initiative based on the feedback from both travellers and key stakeholders. So far feedback from nearly 5,500 participants from the first round shows that they regard DiscoverEU as a valuable and inclusive learning experience, which contributes to civic engagement, personal growth and skills development. Travelling gives young people the opportunity to gain self-confidence and develop key competences such as foreign language and inter-cultural skills, adaptability, resilience, interpersonal skills, problem-solving or organisational and team building skills. Two-thirds said that they would not have been able to finance their travel pass without DiscoverEU. For some participants, it was the first time they travelled on their own without their parents or guardians.
In May 2018, the Commission proposed €700 million for DiscoverEU as part of the future Erasmus programme under the EU’s next long-term budget for 2021-2027. If the European Parliament and the Council agree to this, an additional 1.5 million 18-year-olds would be able to travel over those seven years.
For more information
Factsheet Investing in Youth