Fine Gael MEP, Brian Hayes has today (Friday) welcomed progress made this week in the European Parliament to provide all EU citizens with a free Interail ticket on their 18th birthday. The Dublin MEP said that the European Parliament voted to allocate funding to establish a pilot project, which was originally proposed by the EPP (European People’s Party) last year.
“This week the European Parliament voted to provide funds to allow a pilot project on the free Interrail ticket initiative to be set up. The pilot project of 20,000 tickets will be offered next year and if successful expanded in 2019.”
“I fully support this initiative. I think it is a great idea. The EU have introduced many programmes which have benefited young people such as Erasmus +. The “18th Birthday Interrail Pass for Europe” program is another way that young people could benefit from the European Union and at the same time promote tourism and enhance social cohesion. It will also allow young people learn about other countries, make new friends and discover new opportunities.”
“Europe needs to reach out to a younger generation. Europe badly needs to dream again and celebrate the common bonds that tie us together. We need to move on from the failure of Brexit. We need to invite young people to travel across Europe – their European Union and experience the idea of unity through diversity.”
The European Union has heavily invested in railway infrastructure across Europe. By 2020 almost €30 billion will have been invested. It makes perfect sense to encourage the use of this network. Almost every EU Member State is connected to the rail network. For countries that are not part of the network, tickets for transport such as a ferry to the nearest rail connection would be provided.”
“The “18th Birthday Interrail Pass for Europe” would give all young people, regardless of their social and educational background the opportunity to discover Europe,” concluded MEP Hayes.