MEP Deirdre Clune today congratulated nearly 800 people in Ireland who have secured a place on the Discover EU free travel scheme. The initiative gives young people the opportunity to travel around Europe, learn from other cultures and build new friendships. Demand for a place on the scheme was extremely high, with a total of 330,000 people aged 18 to 20 applying from across eligible countries. 60,000 travel passes have now been allocated to winners, who can avail of designated travel services around member states for up to 30 days between March 2022 and February 2023. With the next application round expected this spring, MEP Clune is urging the Commision, which funds the scheme, to increase the budget.
“I am delighted to see there is huge demand for this programme, with over 12,500 people applying from Ireland alone. In light of the obvious popularity, I will be writing to the Commission to urge them to consider increasing the funding to allow more young people the chance to avail of this fantastic opportunity. This would be a timely move, given 2022 has been designated European Year of Youth. For many, this is a valuable time to develop life skills – many of those who have used the scheme in the past say it boosted their independence and self-confidence. It is vital for the European Commission to show their commitment to the young generation, who have faced unprecedented challenges over the past two years. The Commission must also be aware of the environmental bonus. The EU has committed to train travel as a means to tackle climate change and achieve a carbon neutral Europe by 2025. The Discover EU free travel scheme introduces young people to the possibilities of green transport. 66% of users indicate they were travelling by train for the first time”.