School Trips to Brussels: Awakening Interest in the Work of the European Union

Lifestyle & TravelCulture ♦ Published: June 2, 2022; 14:30 ♦ (Vindobona)

In the future, the Austrian federal government wants to promote trips to Brussels in order to arouse interest in the European Union among schoolchildren. The trips, which will be subsidized with up to 500 euros. These trips are intended to give students easier access to the 'heart' of the European Union and show them the importance of the organization.

The government wants to enable students to travel to Brussels by train. / Picture: © OEBB, Harald Eisenberger

In order to arouse more interest in the European Union among Austrian schoolchildren, the government wants to promote projects in the future to give students easier access to the determining political body in Europe.

Therefore, in the future, trips to the Belgian capital of Brussels will be sponsored by the government so that students can familiarize themselves with the organizations located there and learn what influence the Union has on the lives of every EU citizen.

"Where democracy is to live, the institutions must also be experienced. That is why the federal government supports trips to Brussels by school classes with up to 500 euros and now bundles funding opportunities, initiatives as well as sample itineraries of trips to Brussels on one platform," State Secretary Claudia Plakolm held at a press conference.

Together with ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä and EU Ambassador Martin Selmayr, she explained how, on the basis of a cost-covering model, 15 to 20-year-olds can visit the "EU capital" Brussels once during their training period.

"Easier access to the 'heart' of the European Union is indispensable for the EU as a project of opportunity and peace," emphasized the Youth State Secretary at the event at Vienna Central Station, where the newly branded EU locomotive was also inaugurated.

Arousing interest in the work of the European Union

Starting in the 2022/2023 school year, the European Commission Representation will cover the costs of the Nightjet to Brussels and back for one school class from each federal state. The aim is to give young people a closer look at the work of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers.

A prerequisite for funding is membership in the network "EUropa at School", an initiative of the Ministry of Education, the Representation of the European Commission and the Liaison Office of the European Parliament, which is supervised by Zentrum polis.

The goal is to arouse interest in the students, to actively engage with the European Union and to develop an understanding of Europe. The trips to Brussels are a sign of the European Green Deal and the European Year of Youth.

The Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Austria, Martin Selmayr, wants young people to experience Europe in a sustainable way. The European peace project, he said, is based on understanding, joint compromise and the strength of the law.

That is why the young generation's involvement with Europe is a matter of great concern to him. ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä was delighted to be part of this project, which will bring schoolchildren from all over Austria to Brussels in an environmentally friendly way.

Federal Chancellery of Austria