MEP István Ujhelyi, the mentor of the European program, said that the spring round has closed in Hungary, with many times more applications for the free travel opportunity. In contrast, in other member states, there were not enough youth who applied for the quota passes, so the European Commission agreed to distribute the unused tickets among the oversubscribed member states.
Now 958 young people, 215 more than in the previous year, will be able to use the free train passes this summer, the politician said at an online press conference.
In recent years, 165,000 18-year-olds have been able to travel around Europe with the free pass. More than 20,000 from Hungary have applied so far, and more than 4,000 have been granted the free pass.
He suggested that the government and local authorities should support the program, for example, with accommodation or some spending money. In many cities across Europe, young people who visit the city as DiscoverEU winners get special discounts on certain tickets and services, which could be an example for Budapest and other Hungarian cities as well, he said.
There will be another round of applications for free travel passes this year, the details of which will be announced by the European Commission in the autumn.