BRUSSELS: The European Commission said on Monday it would give free international trips to up to 7,000 school students, stopping far short of a call by the European Parliament to hand InterRail tickets to all the EU’s 5.4 million 18-year-olds.
The Commission said it had earmarked 2.5 million euros (US$2.7 million) to offer an initial 5,000 young people the chance to visit another European country.
The Parliament last year passed a resolution calling for all 18-year-olds to be given free InterRail tickets, which, typically, are month-long passes allowing young people to travel across Europe’s rail network at will.
“The Commission has estimated that such an initiative would cost between 1.2 and 1.6 billion euros (US$1.30-US$1.74 billion) a year. This kind of funding is currently not available,” the Commission said.