EU Commissioner for Innovation, Culture and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, announced at the European Parliament on Friday that it will provide free Interrail passes to young people who have just turned 18 and are eager to explore the wonders of the European Continent.
Candidates will be provided with 60,000 such passes, doubling the previous year, as they will cover people who will reach 18 in 2020 and 2021 to make up for the suspension of the program last year.
The announcement is particularly timely because it coincides with the European Year of Railways-an initiative aimed at promoting train travel as a classic European sustainable transportation tradition. This is also seen as a way to provide much-needed impetus to the tourism industry, which experienced a severe decline during the crisis.
Officially, the free Interrail pass program is called DiscoverEU. From now on, it will be funded as part of Erasmus+, which means that it may be expanded in the future to benefit more young Europeans.
As for the qualification requirements, these requirements are very simple. The application process is expected to start in October and is applicable to candidates who will reach the age of 18 in 2020 and 2021. They must also be citizens of one of the EU member states. Likewise, their prescribed travel plans must include at least one Member State.
The pass is valid for 30 days and can be used only on trains from March 2022 to March 2023 (the only exception is island residents so they can reach the mainland).