Fitzgerald will work to deliver more funding for free interrailing for young Irish people
Fine Gael MEP candidate for Dublin, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has today committed to ensuring that the DiscoverEU initiative is extended so that more young Irish people can benefit from free interrailing opportunities.
"In June 2018, the European Commission launched its DiscoverEU initiative, where 15,000 EU citizens, aged 18, were given the opportunity to travel across Europe with free interrailing tickets for the summer. This was a great opportunity for young people to experience the benefits of the EU and the diversity of culture.
"The project has been a great success - 10 times as many young Irish people applied as there were tickets available in 2018. However, the 2018 and the upcoming 2019 schemes are just pilot projects. Funding remains to be secured for 2020, while more long-term sustainable funding is required for the programme in the next 7-year EU budget, which is still under negotiation.
"I will be pushing the European Commission to continue this project in 2020 so that every young Irish person can benefit from this unique opportunity. While students have Erasmus - which is a wonderful exchange project - the DiscoverEU Initiative is available to every 18 year old, whether they are in college or on an apprenticeship. This needs to be extended.
"Europe must keep reaching out to a younger generation. Programmes like Erasmus have been hugely successful and if we continue to invest in DiscoverEU it will give the youth of Ireland and Europe the chance to travel the continent and experience the idea of unity through diversity.
"Europe needs to dream again and celebrate the common bonds that tie us together. We need to move on from the failure of Brexit and we need to battle against the rise of nationalism. DiscoverEU gives all young people, regardless of their social and educational background the opportunity to discover Europe."