The European Commission announced on Monday the launch of a grant to allow “at least 5,000 young students” to travel to another European country, bearing the cost of their transport.
This one-off initiative is provided with a budget of € 2.5 million from the budget of the Erasmus program and is open to young people aged 16 or older who have participated in a European educational project and who are able to travel alone or with their classes.
“Between 5,000 and 7,000 young people aged 16 and over will be selected and will receive a subsidy valid for tickets worth € 350 or € 530 for travel by train, plane or coach .
The Commission has indicated that some operators will support its initiative “Move2Learn, Learn2Move”, “offering discounts or free tickets”.
This project follows a request from the European Parliament that the EU should be able to offer an “Interrail” pass to any European citizen having reached the age of 18 years. But the European Commission has estimated that such an ambitious initiative would cost “between 1.2 and 1.6 billion euros a year”, a budget that “is not currently available”.
The Commission says, however, that it wanted to draw inspiration from this proposal by MEPs, “while ensuring an educational dimension and taking into account current organisational and budgetary constraints”.
The proposed grant will only be granted on an ad hoc basis, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the European Erasmus program. Applications will be open to pupils whose classes participate in “eTwinning”, a twinning program allowing joint projects between pupils and European teachers through an online platform.
The winners will be able to travel between August 2017 and December 2018, on a date of their choice, “either as a group, on a school trip or as individuals”, depending on the decision that is made by their parents and teachers”.