Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2024

The European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas realizes that the coronavirus pandemic forced young people to “[miss] valuable and formative moments of their youth.” As a recognition of their sacrifice in the name of public health and safety, and to “rekindle mobility in Europe,” the Commission recently announced that it would hand out 60,000 free Interrail tickets to European youth.

This initiative, called “DiscoverEU,” was initiated in 2018 by the European Parliament as a way to provide traveling and mobility opportunities to individuals turning 18, “as this age generally marks a major step into adulthood and to European citizenship,” the Commission states online.

Between 2018 and 2019, the Commission reported that 350,000 young Europeans applied for the 70,000 available travel passes, with 66 percent of them saying that it would be their first time traveling abroad by train, and two-thirds claiming that they would not have been able to finance the trip themselves.

This time around, the tickets are available to people between the ages of 18 and 20 that are nationals of a European Union member state, as the last two rounds were suspended due to the pandemic. The Commission is also allowing young people from the UK to apply one last time, despite Brexit.

The application process opened in mid-October and will remain open until October 26. To be eligible, applicants will have to take a quiz surrounding the EU. Those who pass the quiz will be able to travel for free via train, bus, and ferry through all EU countries for 30 days between March 2022 and February 2023.

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