European Youth Portal
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Rules of the DiscoverEU contest


Rules of the DiscoverEU contest




1. Description

DiscoverEU is an initiative of the European Union based on a proposal from the European Parliament, which aims at offering young people aged 18 years old a travel experience that will enable them to take advantage of the freedom of movement in the European Union, discover the diversity of European regions, enjoy its cultural richness, connect with people from all over the continent and ultimately discover themselves.  

Under this initiative, the European Commission is going to select at least 12 000 young people who should be aged 18 years old on 31 December 2018. The European Commission will provide them with travel passes to explore the European Union between 15 April 2019 and 31 October 2019 for a maximum period of one month.

Selected applicants will, as a basic rule, travel by rail. However, in order to ensure the widest possible access, the project should offer alternative transport modes as ferries and buses when necessary, and taking into account environmental, time and distance considerations.

In exceptional cases, and when no other transportation means are available, travel by plane will be permitted. This will ensure that young people living in remote areas or on islands also have a chance to take part in this initiative.

2. Eligible applicants

To be eligible, young applicants must:

  • be 18 years old on 31 December 2018, i.e. those young people born between 1 January 2000 (included) and 31 December 2000 (included);
  • have the nationality of one of the Member States of the European Union at the time of the award decision;
  • fill in the correct ID or passport number on the online application form;

If awarded, selected applicants can only travel if they:

  • start their journey in a country which is a Member State of the European Union at the time of the award decision;
  • plan to travel between 1 day and up to one month inclusive;
  • plan to travel to at least one foreign country which is a Member State of the European Union at the time of the award decision;
  • are willing to become a DiscoverEU Ambassador  

Any applicant not fulfilling the eligibility criteria will not be taken into consideration in the selection process. 

DiscoverEU is a preparatory action initiated by the European Parliament with the objective of providing travelling and mobility opportunities to young people turning 18 years old. The action specifically targets 18 years old, as this age generally marks a major step to adulthood and to European citizenship.

3. Application procedure

The application round to the DiscoverEU initiative is open through a specific online application form on the European Youth Portal. It will not be possible to submit an application before or after the deadline.

There are 7 steps in this application procedure:

  1. The applicants will first have to pass an eligibility check, which implies that they will be requested to fill in their date of birth and nationality. If data do not comply with the eligibility rules mentioned under point 2 ‘Eligible applicants’, then they will not be able to proceed with the next step. Additionally, they will also be asked to agree to the rules of the DiscoverEU contest, to agree that their personal data will be stored and processed for the purpose of the DiscoverEU contest, and that they agree to be contacted in relation to DiscoverEU by the European Commission and organisations authorised by the European Commission for the same purpose.
  2. The applicants will have to indicate whether they want to travel alone, or in a group of maximum 5 people.
  3. The applicants will have to provide a valid email address. Once done, they will receive an automatic email from the European Youth Portal in order to verify if the email address is valid. This verification is needed given that communication with the applicants after selection will be done by email. By asking the applicants to confirm their email address, the European Commission is preventing unauthorised usage of the email addresses by other persons.  
  4. After validation of their email address, young people have to fill in the application form. First, they will have to give their personal data: nationality, date of birth, first name, last name, gender, email address, phone number, country of residence, region, occupation and national ID or passport. Young people with reduced mobility and/or disabilities will have the possibility to indicate their specific needs.
  5. Once they have filled in their personal data, all applicants have to answer a quiz of 5 multiple-choice questions linked to the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, European Union initiatives targeting young people and the European Parliament elections. Finally, they are requested to answer a subsidiary question. Applicants will be selected up to the available budget and ranked following their replies.
  6. In the next step, applicants are asked to give additional information on their travel plans (i.e. when they plan to start their journey, whether they have already visited another EU country, whether it is the first time that they will be travelling alone without their parents, what they would like to learn from this experience, what activities they would like to do and how they find out about the DiscoverEU initiative). The information entered in that section is not binding and will not have any impact on the selection process. Data collected will be used for statistical purposes and information for the European Commission with a view to improve the DiscoverEU initiative.  
  7. All applicants will receive a confirmation by email through the European Youth Portal, once they have submitted their application. This email will inform them that their application has been registered, and will include the application code and the timetable for the communication of the award decision.

Everyone will receive a code upon submission of the application form. If an applicant wants to invite people to join his/her group, he/she becomes a group leader and he/she will have to communicate the code to the other members of the group to allow their registration. Based on the code provided by the group leader, the other group members will have to register online, and fill in their personal data. Please note that group members don’t have to participate in the quiz and subsidiary question as only the group leader will have to complete the quiz and the subsidiary question.

If applicants have indicated that they want to travel alone, they can still add friends to their application after submission and before the final deadline, following the same procedure mentioned above.

A group application will be assessed as one single application. Only those group members who have filled in the application form by using the code provided by the group leader will be taken into consideration for the selection. Group members shall not register individually.

Groups can be composed of persons from different nationalities living in different locations.

Only one application per person may be submitted. The first application registered in the European Youth Portal will be the only one considered in the selection process. Multiple group registrations are also prohibited. Only the first group application will be considered. Individuals may not apply in different groups

If at any stage, multiple applications are detected, only the first application registered in the European Youth Portal will be considered.

Young people who travelled with a DiscoverEU travel pass under the first application round in June 2018 are not eligible to submit a second application. This will be detected at submission stage. If at any stage during the implementation of the initiative, applications from young people who were granted a DiscoverEU travel pass under the first application round are being detected, either by the external contractor designated by the European Commission to take care of the travel bookings or by the European Commission itself, the applicant will be disqualified.

4. Selection Process and Award Criteria

There is a quota of travel tickets set for each EU Member State. The allocation of the travel tickets is based on the share of each EU Member State in the EU population. The number of travel tickets available per EU Member State is indicated in Annex 1.

The selection process will be carried out based on the nationality indicated by the applicant in the registration form. In case there are less applications than the fixed national quota, the remaining tickets will be re-distributed among the applicants originating from countries with more applicants than the fixed quotas.

The nationality of the group leader will determine the nationality to be taken into consideration for the quota calculation. If a group comes last in the list of selected applicants per nationality and the quota for that nationality is reached, the whole group will be selected.

Applicants will first have to pass the eligibility criteria check, i.e. an eligible date of birth and EU citizenship as mentioned under points 2 and 3. Please note that this will automatically be assessed during the application, and data provided will be double-checked by the contractor designated by the European Commission. If the contractor detects that the applicant has made a false declaration by checking their ID and/or passport document, he/she will be excluded from the contest.

If all eligibility criteria are fulfilled, the applicants will then have to fulfil the award criteria, i.e. the replies to the 5 multiple-choice questions and to a subsidiary question. In case of groups, only the group leader will have to answer the 5 quiz questions and the subsidiary question.

Applicants will be grouped by nationality and ranked according to the correct replies to the 5 quiz questions, and then according to the reply to the subsidiary question.

After the closure of the application period, the results will be extracted from the European Youth Portal and sent to the members of the evaluation committee for their final assessment. 

In case applications (individual or groups) receive an equal final ranking ("ex aequo") and the number of those applications is higher than the concerned fixed national quota, the European Commission will apply the “first come first served” principle.

5. Evaluation Committee

An evaluation committee composed of European Commission's officials will meet at the end of December 2018. They will look at the selection results on the basis of the award criteria set out above. They will assess and decide on the final ranking of the selected applicants who will be awarded the travel tickets based on their replies to the quiz and to the subsidiary question, taking into account a quota per Member State. Once the selection is made, a reserve list will be established. Applicants on this reserve list might be awarded travel tickets in case of non-allocated remaining budget or when selected applicants renounce to their travel ticket (see point 7).

Based on the assessment of the evaluation committee, the Commission will adopt the award decision  with information on the total amount of travel tickets awarded, the total budget being allocated to the travel tickets, the list of the selected applicants and the reserve list.

6. Notification of results

Between Thursday 10 January 2019 and Thursday 17 January 2019, all applicants will receive a notification via email stating whether:

  • they have been selected as beneficiary ('selected applicants')
  • they have not been selected and have been put on a reserve list

Once the selected applicants have been notified, the list of those selected will be sent to the external contractor designated by the European Commission, which will take care of the travel bookings. Further communication will then be established between this external contractor and the selected applicants. More information can be found under point 8.

As of mid-January 2019, applicants will also be able to verify on the European Youth Portal whether they have been selected or not. In order to comply with the protection of personal data as set out in the Regulation (EC) No 45/2001, only the codes that the applicants received when submitting the application on the European Youth Portal will be made available on the website.

7. Reserve list

All non-selected applicants will be placed on a reserve list in the descending order of their ranking according to their replies to the quiz and the subsidiary question. In case some selected applicants withdraw their application or if the value of the tickets awarded is lower than the available budget, the European Commission may award tickets to applicants placed on the reserve list up to the complete use of the available budget. Budget consumption will be reviewed on a monthly basis.

Inclusion on the reserve list does not create any entitlement vis-à-vis the European Commission and does not guarantee to be selected at a later stage.

Non-selected applicants on the reserve list can be contacted by the contractor designated by the external European Commission to arrange the travel bookings with an invitation to register on the booking platform. Those contacted towards the end of the project, due to being on the reserve list, cannot claim reimbursement for travels made prior to the invitation, nor request an extension of the travel period.

8. Booking of travel tickets and dates for travelling

The selected applicants shall start their journey in a country which is a Member State of the European Union at the time of the award decision. Trips shall include travel to at least one country which is a Member State of the European Union at the time of the award decision and which is different from the Member State of departure. Young people can travel between 1 day and up to one month inclusive. The travel period should take place between 15 April 2019 and 31 October 2019.

Travel tickets for the selected applicants will be booked, purchased and delivered by the external contractor designated by the European Commission. Selected applicants should not, under any circumstances, book tickets by themselves or via a travel agency. Tickets purchased directly by the selected applicants shall not be reimbursed. 

The external contractor designated by the European Commission will contact the selected applicants and give them access to an online booking form that they will need to fill in in order to receive their travel tickets. The contractor will choose the most competitive and suitable transport operators.

As a basic rule, the selected applicants will have the choice between the 2 following travel options:

Flexible travel option

Fixed travel option

The dates on which you travel remain flexible. However, note that the Travel Pass will have a ‘start date’. From this start date on, your Travel Pass will be valid for one month.

You will have to select fixed travel dates and fixed destinations which cannot be modified once your booking form has been submitted.

You will be able to travel over a period of one month, and travel physically on a set number of travel days (this means that you can spend a set number of travel days on trains). The flexible travel option allows you to travel to many EU countries!

Selected applicants will be able to visit up to 2 countries which are Member States of the European Union at the time of the award decision (this does not include their Member State of departure and the crossed Member States) over a period of maximum one month.

You can travel on consecutive days, or you can spread them out during the travel period. Please note that certain trains may require reservations. This can be necessary on certain high-speed and overnight trains.

No supplements for train reservations will be covered by the European Commission.

There is a budget limit of 260€ that needs to be respected. So make sure your requested itinerary is feasible within this budget.

 

For both options:

  • There is a budget limit of EUR 260 to be respected except for the exceptional cases as outlined below.
  • Cancellations and modifications of the itineraries are not supported.
  • No supplements or other costs encountered during the journey will be covered by the European Commission.

Selected applicants who want to travel to Cyprus and Malta should inform the contractor. The quota mentioned in Annex I will be applied for those travelling from Cyprus and Malta. The same quota will be applied for the selected applicants who want to travel to Cyprus and Malta, and the flight tickets will be booked based on a "first come first served".

Selected applicants opting for the flexible option and willing to travel to the Baltic States, should inform the contractor as well that they would like to include one of those Baltic States in their travel journey. An extra journey might be covered.

A derogation to the travelling period requirement will be applied for young people living in Member States with compulsory civil or military service. In this case, the travel period will be extended to 6 months after the end of their legal duties.

 

9. Transportation means

Selected applicants will, as a basic rule, travel by rail. However, in order to ensure the widest possible access, the project should offer alternative transport modes as ferries and buses when necessary, and taking into account environmental, time and distance considerations. Travel will be in 2nd class.

Only in special cases, the option of travelling by plane may be allowed. This is the case for those young people residing:

  1. In the nine outermost regions (i.e. Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, la Réunion, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands);
  2.  In countries/regions which are not accessible by the previous mentioned transportation means (rail networks, ferry and buses);
  3. When young people have to travel more than 18 hours via land or sea transport before crossing the border of the departure country of their trip.

Only their inbound and outbound trip can be a flight. For the remainder of their trip, participants are required to travel under the basic rule (rail or other alternative transport means).  

Young people from the outermost regions can choose any destination matching the set requirements.  Selected applicants who would like to travel to the outermost regions are able to do this, if their journey fits within the budget limitation of EUR 260.

Selected applicants who are either resident in Cyprus or Malta can travel by plane.

10. Maximum value of the travel tickets

The selected applicants shall only be awarded the travel tickets to the chosen destination. Accommodation, subsistence, insurance, travel supplements or any other expenses related to the trip shall be covered by the selected applicants themselves.

The basic rule is that each selected participant will be entitled to a maximum financing of their travel ticket of EUR 260. Travel will only be in 2nd or economy class. However, this amount can be higher in the specific cases referred to below:

  • For selected applicants travelling from the EU's outermost regions (i.e. Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, la Réunion, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands) to mainland Europe. Once on the European mainland, the basic rule applies;
  • For selected applicants outside the above-mentioned outermost regions who have to travel by plane to mainland Europe. Once on the European mainland, the basic rule applies;
  • In some specific situations to be assessed on a case-by-case basis (e.g. selected applicants choosing the flexible option and traveling from/to the Baltic States, or for selected applicants residing in Ireland and other islands part of the EU) an extra journey by train/ferry/bus, might be covered.
  • For selected applicants with reduced mobility and/or special needs: costs of special assistance (accompanying person, dog for visually impaired selected applicants etc.) might be covered, based on the appropriate documents for justifying their special needs, as required under the national law of the residence Member State.

11. Timetable

Opening Date of registration 29 November 2018 (12:00 CET)
Closing Date of registration 11 December 2018 (12:00 CET)
Evaluation Committee End December 2018
Notification of Award Decision Mid-January 2019
First Departure Date 15 April 2019
Last Return Date 31 October 2019

12. Withdrawal and cancellation of the trip by the selected participant

Each travel ticket will be nominative and cannot be transferred to another person under any circumstance. The name on the travel ticket cannot be changed.

If a selected participant declines for whatever reasons before the external contractor designated by the European Commission has booked the travel ticket, his/her place will be given to someone else from the reserve list in descending order of the selection. Selected applicants are invited to inform the contractor before any ticket is booked.

If a member of the group (group leader or group member) renounces to travel before the European Commission's contractor has booked the travel ticket, this renunciation will not jeopardise the whole group. The remaining group members can still travel as planned. However, the person who renounced cannot be replaced. The European Commission will attribute this spare travel ticket to a person from the reserve list in descending order of the selection.

In case the group leader declines, the group should appoint a new group leader who will be the new single contact point for the external contractor designated by the European Commission.

It is accepted that some members of a group eventually decide to travel on an individual basis and this will not affect the whole group.

Once bookings are done, any cancellation or modification fee should be supported by the selected applicants.

13. Force Majeure

In case a trip is interrupted due to unforeseeable exceptional situations or events beyond the participant's control and not attributable to error or negligence on his/her part, a new travel pass might be awarded. The European Commission's contractor will assess those particular situations on a case-by-case basis.

14. Reporting back on the trip

The European Commission would like to hear back from the selected applicants and will encourage these young travellers to share their experiences and adventures. Once selected, the selected applicants will become DiscoverEU Ambassadors of the initiative. They are invited to report back on their travel experiences, for example through social media like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or by providing a presentation at their school or at their local community. A Facebook Group has been set up and selected applicants are welcome to join it. Young travellers will also need to report back in a survey sent out by the contractor of the European Commission after their travelling period. 

15. Disclaimer

The European Commission will only provide for the travel tickets as explained above. Therefore, accommodation, subsistence, insurance, travel supplements or any other expenses related to the trip shall be covered by the selected applicants themselves. Insurance coverage is not provided by the European Commission and is the sole responsibility of the selected applicant.

The European Commission and its contractor shall not be held liable for any damage caused or sustained by any of the selected applicants in the contest, including any damage caused to or by third parties as a consequence of or during the implementation of the subsidised activities.

The European Commission and its contractor shall not be held liable for any material, non-material or physical damage suffered by the selected applicants or those accompanying them in the course of their journey or during their stay.

The desired trip is subject to constraints related to budget, time and tickets availability. Therefore it can be subject to change, and the external contractor designated by the European Commission cannot guarantee that the desired trip can be accomplished.

The selected applicants are advised to acquire appropriate health and travel insurance for the whole duration of the trip. Basic health insurance coverage is usually provided by the participant's national health insurance during his/her stay in another European Union Member State through the European Insurance Card. However, the coverage of the European Health Insurance Card or private health insurance may not include all possible cases, especially if repatriation or specific medical intervention is needed. In those cases, a complementary insurance is advisable.  

The European Commission reserves the right to modify the rules set up under points 10 and 11 in case of exceptional circumstances.

16. Applicable Law

This contest is governed by EU law. The Court of Justice of the European Union shall have sole jurisdiction to hear any dispute between the Union and any beneficiary concerning the interpretation, application or validity of the rules of this contest, if such dispute cannot be settled amicably.

17. Data Protection

Data requested will only be used for the purpose of selecting the selected applicants and enabling to book the travel tickets.

Any personal data will be processed by the European Commission under the Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and according to the ‘notifications of the processing operations’ to the Data Protection Officer (DPO) of the European Commission (publicly accessible in the DPO register). Such data will be processed by the "data controller" of the European Commission for the purposes of the contest, implementation and follow-up or protecting the financial interests of the EU.

The Privacy Statement for the DiscoverEU initiative explains to applicants the way in which the initiative uses the personal data and the way in which the privacy of this data is being protected. The Privacy Statement for the DiscoverEU initiative can be found at the following link:  https://europa.eu/youth/privacy_en

The applicants have the right to have recourse at any time to the European Data Protection Supervisor.

18. Complaints

A complaint form will be available on the website of the contractor designated by the European Commission to arrange the travel bookings. Selected applicants will be informed about this possibility when booking their tickets.

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