“Imagine it is your 18th birthday and you find a personalised letter from the European commission in your postbox. In it: a voucher to travel Europe. Your life will change.”
Free tickets for unlimited travel across Europe
The European Union has recently decided that it will give up to 30,000 18-year-olds FREE InterRail tickets for unlimited travel across Europe’s rail network this summer, offering them the chance to explore the continent and make friends.
German MEP Manfred Weber, one of the politicians behind the scheme, told the European Parliament he wanted young people “to discover the beauty and diversity of Europe over three weeks”.
Only EU citizens or those legally residing within the EU who were born in 2000 will be able to apply for tickets to travel this summer.
Under current plans, 2018 is the only year British 18-year-olds are thought to be eligible for a free pass due to the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.
They will be able to apply through the European Youth Portal from May 2018 (exact date to be advised). If the number of registrations is larger than the number of tickets available, “winners” will be selected. The method for deciding who is awarded a pass is yet to be decided.
Free travel to 30 countries
An InterRail pass allows holders to travel between 30 different countries, including the UK, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Greece. Other modes of transport will be made available in member state countries that are not covered by InterRail, such as Latvia, Cyprus and Malta.
The EU is going to spend EUR 12,000,000 (£10,700) on implementing the scheme. It hopes that with sponsorship and partnerships, it will be able to offer a greater number of passes in subsequent years.