Britain voting to the leave the European Union means that its young people will miss out on the latest perk of being part of the 28-nation bloc — free holidays.
The European Union parliament is considering giving young Europeans a free Interrail pass on their 18th birthday to enable them “to explore and know Europe better.”
The Interrail pass allows a passenger to travel through 30 countries across the continent’s vast train network, using just one ticket. It is a rite of passage for many of those leaving school and embarking on their gap years.
The scheme would not benefit British teenagers, however — the law would take several years to come into effect, by which time the UK would have left the EU.
The group of MEPs who originally proposed the idea said that “the mobility of young people is essential in promoting a sense of belonging to Europe, enhancing social cohesion and ensuring a competitive European economy.”
“Meanwhile, populism and the spread of misinformation is one of the biggest threats currently facing Europe. In this context, young generations have a key role to play as a counterweight,” said a statement released by the MEPs.
On Tuesday, the proposal was debated in parliament by the EU’s transport chief
Violeta Bulc. She said: “We admire the boldness and the level of ambition — and we are ready to explore it further.”
The scheme has not yet picked up widespread support: a petition backing the proposal has gained less than 1,500 signatures. Nationalists in parliament may also work to undermine the scheme. Raymond Finch, a British UKIP MEP, stood up during the debate to declare the idea “insane.”
Expense may also be an issue. Given that a 30-day Interrail pass is currently priced at £360 ($460), the cost of the scheme would likely run into the billions.