EU to give young people free train tickets to explore Europe

EU to give young people free train tickets to explore Europe
People walk along the sand at La Concha beach, in the Basque city of San Sebastian, northern Spain, Wednesday, May 2, 2018. (Alvaro Barrientos)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is convinced it has found a new way for young people to fall in love with the continent — free train rides.

The EU kicked off the DiscoverEU project Thursday to send up to 30,000 18-year-olds chugging across the 28 member states this year, giving them free rail transport to broaden their horizon beyond national borders. All for a taxpayers’ cost of 12 million euros ( million).

If all goes well, and the next 7-year EU budget plans are approved, that could turn into a budget of 100 million euros ( million) a year, with some 200,000 teenagers getting to know the joys of EU-wide Interrail travel.

European lawmakers Manfred Weber says: “This is just the beginning.”