The European Commission took its first steps towards implementing a scheme that will give 15,000 teenagers a free Interrail pass once they turn 18 at the start of 2018.
This proposal has now come to fruition and the DiscoverEU initiative will open for applications in June.
From June 12-26, 2018, young people who are 18 years old on July 1, 2018, will be able to register interest for the free pass as an individual or as groups of up to five people.
A selection will then take place by a jury of European Commission officials, which will start on June 27.
Winners will be notified in early July.
The pass will afford those successful the right to a pass valid between July and September 2018 that can last up to 30 days.
Their journey must start in one of the EU's 28 member states and they can travel to between 1 and 4 cross-border destinations.
The train ticket, worth up to €510 for a month’s travel, grants holders the chance to journey across 30 countries in Europe at almost no extra cost on 32 rail networks.
Conditions for entry
If you want to apply you must be:
18 years old on 1 July 2018.
National of one of the 28 EU Member States.
- Show motivation to visit at least one European Cultural Heritage site — a
pplicants need to respond to a quiz on EU cultural heritage, European Parliament elections and Youth.
- Be an
ambassador of DiscoverEU — r
reporting on travel experiences on social media and making pictures available for the DiscoverEU anniversary photo exhibition at the European Parliament.
The European Parliament proposed the scheme in 2016 to encourage young people, especially those on low incomes, to explore the continent and “foster a European identity”.
It was initially hoped 20,000-30,000 teenagers would benefit from the scheme.
There is more to this proposal than free train tickets, according to Manfred Weber, Chairman of the European People's Party.
"Getting to know your neighbours and discovering what Europe is about is so important. Europe is all about you; it's about the people who are so different and yet so similar," he said.
"It's about getting to know one another. That's why Interrail is great. You get to travel all around Europe and find out how beautiful our continent is."
More information can be found on DiscoverEU's website.