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European Union Offers Youth Free Train Ride Incentive

In a bold unprecedented move, the European Union has decreed that 18-year-olds were eligible to travel across Europe via free train rides. The move comes following concerted efforts by the political and economic union to make young people fall in love with neighboring countries. They remain hopeful that the free train ride incentive works like magic in the promotion of integration.

Last Thursday marked the d-day of the DiscoverEU project launched by the European Union. Rough estimates show that up to 30,000 18-year-olds are expected to be part of the bandwagon. Chugging through the European continent thanks to the access to free rail tickets intended to help them expand their horizons. The monies necessary to facilitate the successful completion of the project total up about 12 million euros (about $14 million).

Incredibly, the project is not going to be a one-off venture. The coming years are likely to see continued support for teenage excursions to European nations. The next 7-year EU budgets are going to play an instrumental role in the adoption of the new initiative

Once the project picks up steam, the budget could rise to as much as 100 million euros (about $120 million) annually. Thanks to the initiative, about 200,000 teenagers will be granted the opportunity to traverse Europe through its Interrail travel service.

According to Manfred Weber, a European Union lawmaker, the initiative is nothing but the very beginning of things to come. He further on added that the move will change people’s perception of the role of the EU. Admittedly, he confessed that at present, more people view the EU’s role as simply being legislative, a law making machine.

Coming of Age

Over the last half-century, cut-rate tickets have been offered to European youngsters in a bid to help them traverse the continent. Due to the lengthy period in which the incentive has existed, many now view the initiative as a sort of coming of age practice. During the trip, most youngsters get to see fantastic sights, make new friends, taste a bit of the good life, sleep on the beach and tour the vast reaches of the continent.

In this year’s calendar, 18-year-olds will be able to make applications to travel to up to 4 European Union countries over the period of a month

Given the rich history of the tradition, Weber believes that the project helps young Europeans conceptualize the world around them by discovering the richness of their differences. The selection process involves a quota system where qualification depends on how well one is able to answer a quiz based on EU culture, heritage, and current affairs.

Through this quiz, about 15,000 recipients will be selected in June. Later on, a second selection will be done in the fall. Notably, the initiative only caters for transportation costs. Thus, young Europeans will be on their own with regards to every other thing or activity they decide to engage in during the trip.


Surely, news about the possible expansion of the program in the EU budget cycle must have made a couple of people happy. Chief among them are the numerous campaigners that have been championing for the initiative to be afoot. At present, the stakes are high that the program will be incorporated in the next EU budget starting 2020.

The #FreeInterrail campaign was launched by Martin Speer and Vincent-Immanuel Herr. In their statements to the press, the duo commended the forward-thinking nature of the initiative. Additionally, they termed the move by European Union executives as being brave

According to Herr and Speer, the idea was first conceptualized in a dinner table setting, back in 2014. The very fact that the idea is now coming to fruition excites them. Thanks to e-mail correspondence, they believe that the initiative is going to help positively change the perception and thinking exhibited by hundreds of thousands.

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