Today, the Commission is launching the DiscoverEU spring call, thanks to which 35,000 young people will receive a free rail pass to explore Europe.
The application round starts today at 12:00 and will end on 29 March at 12:00. To win a travel pass, young people are invited to apply on the European Youth Portal, answer 5 quiz and one tiebreaker questions. Successful applicants born between 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2005 will be able to travel in Europe for up to 30 days during the travel period 15 June 2023 and 30 September 2024. The call is open to applicants from the European Union and the third countries associated to the Erasmus+ Programme, such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Türkiye.
This year, participants will be able to discover the New European Bauhaus route, launched in January 2023. It aims to inspire young people when choosing their destinations and raise awareness on the importance of making the European Union ‘beautiful, sustainable, together'. Participants will also continue to benefit from the initiatives launched in 2022 during the European Year of Youth, such as ‘Youth discovers culture thanks to DiscoverEU in 2022' and the DiscoverEU Culture Route. The latter combines various destinations and cultural branches, including architecture, music, fine art, theatre, fashion, design and more. DiscoverEU travellers can visit the European Capitals of Culture, destinations added on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, or holders of the European Heritage Label. Moreover, they can also stop at locations with the Access City Award label. These are cities that have gone above and beyond to become more accessible to everyone, regardless of age, mobility or ability. Another activity that will continue is the provision of a discount card to the participants, with more than 40,000 discount possibilities on public transport, culture, accommodation, food, sports and other services available in the eligible countries.
Erasmus+ National Agencies support young people through pre-departure information meetings, preparing them for their journey. Still as part of the legacy of the European Year of Youth, the National Agencies organise the DiscoverEU Meet-ups, an exciting cultural programme that lasts from one to three days across all Erasmus+ countries. 51 of these Meet-ups have taken place so far and will continue in future years.
As social inclusion is a top priority of the Erasmus+ programme, participants with disabilities or health issues will be supported on their journeys. Furthermore, in October 2022, the Erasmus+ National Agencies launched the DiscoverEU Inclusion Action, allowing organisations working with young people with fewer opportunities as well as informal groups of young people to apply for a grant. Participants under the DiscoverEU Inclusion Action will receive extra support, such as the possibility to travel with accompanying persons. Two calls of the Inclusion Action will take place in 2023. During the first call that took place in October 2022, 166 projects were submitted to the Erasmus+ National Agencies. The first travellers under this specific action can start their journey in March 2023.
The Commission encourages sustainable travel by rail. However, special arrangements are available for young people from outermost regions, Overseas Counties and Territories, remote areas and islands.
Since 2018, nearly 916,000 candidates applied for 212,700 travel passes available. According to the last results of the post-travel survey, 72% 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. Over two-third 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 Official 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. There is also a tiebreaker question. 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.
The selection will be carried out by nationality and/or country of residence, in accordance with the number of travel passes allocated to each country. The quota per country will be published along with the selection results.
For More Information
- Publication date
- 15 March 2023
- Representation in Malta