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Gee Linford, Grayson, recent graduate in PoliticsPhotography Jade Jackman

The EU wants to give free InterRail passes to all teenagers

Brussels is planning to gift every 18-year-old with a free holiday (Brits obviously not included)

In a bid to build a “sense of belonging” following June’s shock Brexit result, the EU has revealed new plans to offer every European teenager a free holiday. 

The policy, which is currently being discussed in Brussels, would see every 18-year-old within the union receive a free month-long InterRail ticket, allowing them to visit different European countries without charge. Currently, these kinds of passes – classified as ‘Under 26’ tickets – cost around €479 (£421).

According to lawmakers, the move would help counter the growing sense of nationalism that has been spreading throughout the continent, and would build back some enthusiasm for the European Union. “People all around Europe must get to know and learn to cherish each other,” legislator Manfred Weber told Reuters. “Our wish is that as many youngsters as possible ... get to know other countries and make new friends.”

While many parliament members have acknowledged that putting the policy into practice won’t be easy – especially as around five million citizens turn 18 each year – they seem resolute to explore all the available options. In a meeting yesterday on the subject, EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc stated that she admired the “boldness” of the scheme, and would look into the cost and possible funding sources. She also briefly mentioned the idea of an ‘InterRail lottery’ if the full funding was not possible.

Despite the immense cost of the project, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi – who recently revealed his plans to gift every 18-year-old with a €500 ‘culture pass’ – called the scheme “a very good idea”. The German government is also reportedly in favour of the plan.

“I think the particular charm of this idea is that it sends many positive signals for European integration and the younger generation,” said campaigner Martin Speer, who has been trying to persuade Brussels to adopt the proposal since 2014. “Nobody would have to apply for it; everyone would receive the voucher when he or she turns 18 and would then have four to six years to make use of it.”