The EU is launching a new initiative to provide travel passes for young people aged 18 years old to discover Europe. The new programme, named ‘DiscoverEU’, is part of the Commission’s proposal for the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget and is an olive branch to the European Parliament, where MEPs approved a motion last year asking the Commission to give out free Interrail passes to every European on their 18th birthday. The EU executive decided that was too expensive, so instead, a total of around 15,000 teenagers will receive €255 vouchers for travel within the EU in June. If you are a 18 years old (on 1 July 2018) national from  one of the 28 EU Member States that wants to travel alone or with a group of maximum 5 to discover at least one European Cultural Heritage site, you can apply! Young Europeans interested in this opportunity must submit an application through the EU's website for youth programs to win. Those interested would need to apply in June during a period of two weeks. submit their online application from the 12 to 26 June 2018 on .

Those chosen will have “the opportunity to travel around Europe this summer in order to discover the continent’s rich cultural heritage, get in touch with other people, learn from other cultures and as such discover what unites Europe”.

A quota system and a quiz on EU cultural heritage, European Parliament elections heritage, culture and current affairs will be used to select the first 15,000 ticket recipients. A jury made up of European Commission officials will select winners from an online competition based on their responses to quiz questions about European subsidiarity, culture, geography and history. The free trips “should be connected to a place with a specific value in terms of European cultural heritage, European sites, places of historic interest, specific social or cultural values and traditions”, one EU official said. Applicants will need to list where they want to travel, but will not be required to explain why their choice is important to European culture or history. Participants can travel up to 30 days and can visit between one and four different countries. If selected, participants would have to carry out their travel between the months of July and September of 2018. Additionally, the selected participants would become a DiscoverEU Ambassador, reporting on their travel experiences on social media and making their pictures available for the DiscoverEU anniversary photo exhibition at the European Parliament.

Erika Branca