What is DiscoverEU?
Are you 18 years old? Are you up for an adventure? If yes, get ready to explore Europe by joining DiscoverEU, an initiative of the European Union allowing 15,000 young people to receive a free interrail travel pass this summer.
2018 is a pilot programme, with a limited number of tickets being made available. In Ireland 140 tickets will be available. If the programme is successful, it will be expanded in future years.
For the most part participants will be travelling by rail. To ensure a wide access across the continent, the travel pass will also offer alternatives such as buses or ferries. In exceptional cases, and when no other transport means are available, travel by plane will be permitted. This will ensure that young people living in remote areas or on islands also have a chance to take part.
Who can apply?
You can only apply if you:
- are 18 years old on 1 July 2018 (born between 2 July 1999 and 1 July 2000 included);
- have the nationality of one of the 28 Member States of the European Union;
- fill in your passport number on the online application form;
- start your journey in one of the EU 28 Member States;
- plan to start your travel between 9 July and 30 September 2018;
- plan to travel between 1 day and up to 30 days inclusive;
- plan to travel to at least 1 and up to 4 foreign country destinations within the EU;
If you meet these criteria, then you can apply online.
Frequently Asked Questions
When and how to apply?
Applications will open online from 12 June at 11:00 (GMT) to 26 June 2018 at 11:00 (GMT). Firstly, you will need to provide your personal data and give more details about the trip you are planning to make. Secondly, you will have to answer 5 quiz questions linked to the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage and EU youth initiatives targeting young people. Finally, you will have to answer a tie-breaker question, which will allow the European Commission to rank the applicants in case there are too many applications. Once selected, participants have to start travelling between 9 July and 30 September 2018.
For how many days can participants travel?
Participants can travel between a minimum of 1 and up to 30 days inclusive. They can visit from 1 to 4 foreign country destinations (only EU 28 Member States) with a travel trip arranged back home. The travel trip must start between 9 July 2018 and 30 September 2018.
Will transport be by rail only?
Participants will, as a basic rule, travel by rail. However, in order to ensure the widest possible access, the project will offer alternative transport modes, such as buses or ferries.
The use of flights will only be considered on an exceptional basis, for those young people residing:
- in the nine outermost regions (i.e. Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, la Réunion, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands);
- in countries/regions which are not accessible by the previous mentioned transportation means (rail networks, ferries and buses);
- when young people have to travel more than 18 hours via land or sea transport before crossing the border of the country of departure.
Only one round trip can be a flight. Afterwards, participants are required to travel by rail or other alternative modes (except private cars and chartered buses).
Can the participant travel alone or in a group of friends?
The project foresees that participants can travel either individually or in a group of maximum 5 persons. In the case of a group, a group leader should be appointed on the group’s behalf. The group leader fills in the application form. S/he will receive a code when submitting the application, which s/he should then communicate to the group members in order to allow their registration. Based on the code provided by the group leader, the remaining group members can then register online and fill in their personal data.
Will all group members be selected?
Yes, a group application will be assessed as one single application.
How are participants selected?
The selection of applicants will take place via an online registration tool available on the European Youth Portal. Applicants must answer 6 quiz questions and one subsidiary question, which will allow the European Commission to rank the applicants in case there are too many applications as opposed to the available budget. Applications can be submitted during the two-week application round in June 2018. Young people with special needs (e.g. reduced mobility, visually impairments, etc.) will be entitled to receive appropriate additional support. Around 15,000 young people will be selected during the June 2018 application round.
Will there be a quota for each country?
The selection will be carried out by country in accordance with the number of travel tickets allocated to each country. This allocation is based on the share of each country’s population compared to the overall population of the European Union. In case there are fewer applicants for certain countries than the allocated travel tickets foreseen, the remaining travel tickets will then be distributed among the countries where there are more participants than the quota foreseen.
Do selected participants book their own travel?
No. Selected participants shall not book their travel tickets themselves, as tickets purchased separately shall not be reimbursed. Travel tickets for the selected participants will exclusively be booked, purchased and delivered by the external contractor designated by the European Commission.
Are any other expenses covered in the trip?
No. The initiative does not include any travel insurance. Insurance coverage is the sole responsibility of the participant. Moreover, accommodation, subsistence, travel supplements to be paid during the trip or any other expenses related to the trip shall be covered by the participants.
The participants should acquire appropriate health and travel insurance for the whole duration of the trip. Basic health insurance coverage is usually provided by the participant’s national health insurance during his/her stay in another EU country through the European Insurance Card. However, the coverage of the European Health Insurance Card or private health insurance may not include all possible cases, especially if repatriation or specific medical intervention is needed. In that case, a complimentary private insurance is advisable.