On 29 November 2018, the Commission will open the second round of DiscoverEU, with over 12,000 free tickets for 18 year-olds in the EU to travel in Europe.
What is DiscoverEU?
DiscoverEU is an EU initiative which offers 18 year-olds a travel experience that will enable them to take advantage of the freedom of movement in the European Union, discover the diversity of European regions, enjoy its cultural richness, connect with people from all over the continent and ultimately discover themselves. Any EU citizen born between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2000 will be able to apply for this round.
Why don’t you offer this opportunity to all 18-year-olds?
Ultimately the aim is to give as many young people as possible the chance to benefit from DiscoverEU. However, with a current budget of €12 million, it is not possible to offer tickets to all 18-year-olds in Europe.
Based on the overwhelming interest in DiscoverEU and the experience it offers young people across the EU, the European Commission has proposed €700 million for the initiative under the future Erasmus programme in the EU’s long-term budget post 2020. If the European Parliament and the Council agree to the proposal, an additional 1.5 million 18 year olds will be able to travel between 2021 and 2027.
Will there be a quota per country?
A quota of travel tickets is set for each Member State based on the share of Member States’ population compared to the overall population of the European Union. In case there are fewer applicants in certain countries than their fixed quotas, the remaining tickets will be distributed among the countries where there are more applicants than their quotas.
Who can participate and how?
All EU nationals who will be 18 years old on 31 December 2018 can apply. This means young people born between 1 January 2000 (included) and 31 December 2000 (included) are eligible to participate. Young people have to submit their application online through the European Youth Portal during the application period from Thursday 29 November 2018 at 12:00 (midday) CET to Tuesday 11 December at 12:00 (midday) CET.
Why is the initiative only accessible to young people aged 18?
DiscoverEU is an initiative originally requested by the European Parliament with the objective of providing travel and mobility opportunities for young people turning 18. The programme specifically targets 18 year olds, as this age marks a major step to adulthood and to European citizenship.
For how many days are participants allowed to travel?
Young people can travel for a minimum of 1 day and up to one month. They should visit at least one Member State in the European Union other than that of their residence. The trip must start between 15 April 2019 (first departure date) and 31 October 2019 (last return date).
What modes of transport can be used?
As a basic rule, participants will travel by rail. Nevertheless, in order to ensure the widest possible access, alternative transport modes can be offered, such as buses or ferries, when necessary and taking into account environmental, travel and distance consideration. Travel will be in second class.
Can a 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 people. In the case of a group, a group leader must be appointed on the group’s behalf. The group leader will fill in the application form and respond to the quiz and subsidiary question. S/he will receive a code in the confirmation email when submitting the application and should communicate this code to the group members in order to allow their registration. Based on the code provided by the group leader, the remaining group members will be able to register online and fill in their personal data.
If a group application is selected will all group members be able to participate?
Yes, a group application will be assessed as one single application.
How are the young people selected?
The selection of applicants will take place via an online application tool available on the European Youth Portal. Applicants will first have to pass the eligibility criteria check. Then, all applicants will need tocomplete a quiz. They must answer 5 multiple choice quiz questions linked to the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, other European Union initiatives targeting young people and the upcoming European Parliamentelections. Finally, they will need to answer a more general question related to the EU. The correct replies to the quiz and the additional question will allow theEuropean Commission to rank the applicants in case there are more applications than the budget cancater for.
What about young people with reduced mobility and/or special needs?
Young people with special needs (such as reduced mobility, visual impairments, etc.) may be entitled to receive appropriate additional support. Those costs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis according to their needs and based on appropriate documents justifying their special needs, as required under the national law of the Member State of residence. In that respect, costs of special assistance (for example an accompanying person, a dog for visually impaired participants etc.) might be covered.
Should the selected participants book the travel tickets themselves?
No. Selected participants should 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.
What is the value of the travel tickets?
The basic rule is that each participant will be entitled to a financing of their travel ticket of €260. Travel will only be in second or economy class. However, this amount can be higher in specific cases, for instance for people living in remote regions.
Can a relative or friend older than 18 travel with the participant?
Yes, at their own expense. They themselves would have to book and pay for their travel arrangements.
Is the travel ticket transferable to another person?
No. Each travel ticket will be nominative and cannot be transferred to another person under any circumstance. The name on the travel ticket cannot be changed.
What if the participants have to cancel their trip or need to modify it?
Any potential cancellation or modification fees will need to be covered by the participants. There is no extra budget to cover expenditure of this kind, whatever the reason.
Are any of the following expenses included: travel insurance, accommodation, subsistence or any other expenses related to 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 European Union 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.
Will the European Commission help participants with booking accommodation?
No. Booking accommodation is the sole responsibility of the participant.
Will the European Commission give preference to specific transport operators?
No. The contractor who will book the trips can select any public transport mode and any operators or lines.
How can participants prepare their travel?
The European Youth Portal has a website section with practical information about travelling in Europe, where the participants can find useful tips. Participants must possess their valid travel document/ticket during their journey. Anything related to such a document (for instance its validity) is the participant’s responsibility. Young people should also have a valid passport or ID card when travelling in the European Union. Anything related to such a document (validity, etc.) is the participant’s responsibility.
What is expected from the selected participants?
The European Commission would like to hear back from the young travellers and will encourage them to share their experiences and adventures. That is why, once selected, the participants will become ambassadors of the initiative. They will be encouraged to report back on their travel experiences, for example through social media tools like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or by providing a presentation at their school or their local community. Participants will also be welcome to join the Facebook Group set up for this initiative.
Can participants who travelled with a DiscoverEU travel pass under the first application round in June 2018 apply again?
Young people who travelled with a DiscoverEU travel pass under the first application round in June 2018 are not eligible to submit a second application. This will, in principle, already be detected at submission stage. If at any stage during the implementation of the initiative applications from young people who were granted a DiscoverEU travel pass under the first application round are detected, either by the external contractor designated by the European Commission to take care of the travel bookings or by the European Commission itself, the applicant will be disqualified.
Will this initiative happen again or is it a one-off action?
The European Commission intends to develop the initiative and has therefore included it in its proposal for the next Erasmus programme. If the European Parliament and the Council agree to the proposal, an additional 1.5 million 18 year olds are expected to travel between 2021 and 2027, supported by a budget of €700 million.
Where can people find more information on the rules of the contest?
The rules of the contest are published on the European Youth Portal.
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