The European Commission has announced that 35,000 18-year-olds have been selected to embark on a journey through Europe in the first round of the DiscoverEU under the Erasmus + program.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, May 18, the EU Commission noted that this year’s cycle marks the entry of DiscoverEU into Erasmus +, as per the reports.
“With this change and thanks to the exceptional funding granted within the framework of the European Year of youth 2022, 70,000 transport tickets will be made available in 2022,” the statement reads.
In addition, young people coming from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey had the opportunity to apply for the first time after participating in the Erasmus + program.
In this regard, the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said that the DiscoverEU experience had created a community with strong values, respect for European culture, and an openness to new friendships and enriching experiences.
“I am very happy that we have been able to open this initiative to young people from more countries this year, as we strongly advocate the importance of positive intercultural exchanges,” she also added.
The Commission also explains that the selection cycle closed on April 21, 2022, and attracted nearly 69,000 young enthusiasts.
Meanwhile, starting from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, the winners will be informed and can start organising a trip with a maximum duration of 30 days.
They will also have the opportunity to benefit from the support of National Erasmus + Agencies, which organise information meetings and pre-departure meetings throughout Europe.
Attendees will be able to receive the new DiscoverEU discount card, which will give them access to over 40,000 discount options for accommodation, food, culture, and other services.
The Commission is planning to launch the next round of applications in October.
On April 21, Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile urged European Union authorities to end the exclusion of Irish and EU-based citizens of Northern Ireland from the DiscoverEU youth travel programme.
Therefore, since Northern Ireland is no longer part of the European Union, young people from the country have not been able to participate in the program.
Commenting on this issue, Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said that the decision not to include young people from Northern Ireland in the program was a denial of youth rights and another consequence of Brexit, which the North voted against.