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Erasmus+ Programme Guide

This guide is a detailed technical description of the Erasmus+ programme. It is mainly intended for organisations applying for funding.

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Mobility projects for young people - “DiscoverEU Inclusion Action”

Under the DiscoverEU Inclusion Action, organisations and informal groups of young people can receive support to carry out projects allowing young people with fewer opportunities to participate in DiscoverEU on equal footing with their peers.

DiscoverEU offers young people who are 18 years’ old a chance to have a short-term individual or group experience travelling across Europe by rail or other modes of transport where necessary. The objectives are to:

  • give young people the chance to learn about Europe but also to discover Europe’s opportunities for their future education and life choices;
  • equip young people with knowledge, life skills and competences of value to them;
  • encourage connection and intercultural dialogue between the young people;
  • foster the young people’s sense of belonging to the European Union;
  • inspire young people to embrace sustainable travel in particular and environmental conscience in general

Objectives of the Action

DiscoverEU seeks to enhance its inclusion dimension by providing extra support to participants with fewer opportunities to explore Europe.

More specifically, the DiscoverEU Inclusion Action aims to:

  • Reach out to young people with fewer opportunities that would not apply on their own initiative;
  • Overcome the obstacles that prevent these young people to directly participate in the DiscoverEU general application round and provide the necessary support that they need so that they are able to travel;
  • Trigger and enhance the development of competences and skills of young people with fewer opportunities taking part in DiscoverEU.

Policy context

The European Union Youth Strategy 2019-2027 sets out a Framework for European cooperation in the youth field, based on the Commission’s Communication of 22 May 2018 on ‘Engaging, Connecting and Empowering young people’. The Strategy fosters youth participation in democratic life, supports social and civic engagement and aims to ensure that all young people have the necessary resources to take part in society. The EU Youth Strategy also includes a Youth dialogue process and in that context, 11 European Youth Goals have been developed in 2018. These goals identify cross-sectoral areas that affect young people’s lives and point out challenges. The EU Youth Strategy should contribute to realising this vision of young people. Under the core area ‘Connect’, the EU Youth Strategy is promoting and facilitating connections, relations and exchange of experience between young people as a pivotal asset for the future development of the EU. These connections are best fostered through different forms of mobility, one of which is DiscoverEU.

Description of the activities

DiscoverEU Inclusion Action

With the DiscoverEU Inclusion Action, one to five young people with fewer opportunities from the same country gather for a short period to travel through Europe. The learning period comprises planning, preparation, implementation before and during the DiscoverEU travel as well as follow-up after the travel.

The following activities are not eligible for grants under DiscoverEU: academic study trips; exchange activities that aim to make financial profit; exchange activities that can be considered as performance tours, statutory meetings, training courses by adults for young people.

Setting up a project

A project is implemented by one organisation or informal group of young people, which sends one or more (group of) participants on a DiscoverEU travel. The organisation should benefit from its participation in the DiscoverEU Inclusion Action and the project should therefore be in line with the objectives of the organisation and fit its needs. Cooperation with stakeholders in other countries that could offer activities[fn]see the Youth Participation Toolkit prepared by the SALTO PI, module 9 “DiscoverEU (DiscoverEU ( as inspiration[/fn] or support to the participants, e.g. hosting etc., is possible.

A project consists of four stages: planning, preparation, implementation and follow-up. Participating organisations and young people involved in the activities should take an active role in all those stages enhancing thus their learning experience.

  • planning of the travel experience (define the needs, objectives, learning outcomes, type of activity/ies, travel planning, schedule of activities, etc.);
  • preparation (practical arrangements of the DiscoverEU travel, set up of agreements with stakeholders, organisation of linguistic/intercultural/learning/cultural/environmental/digital activities, tasks related to the preparation of participants before departure etc.);
  • implementation of activities during the DiscoverEU travel;
  • follow-up (evaluation of the activities, identification and documentation of the learning outcomes of participants, as well as dissemination and use of the project's outcomes).

A quality DiscoverEU Inclusion Action:

  • relies on the active involvement of young people with fewer opportunities and participating organisations, who should take an active role in all the stages of the project, enhancing in this way their learning and development experience;
  • involves preferably diverse groups of participants with fewer opportunities and builds on this diversity;
  • is based on clearly identified needs of the young participants;
  • ensures that the non-formal and informal learning outcomes of the DiscoverEU experience of the participants are properly identified and documented;
  • encourages the participants to reflect on European topics and values.

Learning process

Setting the DiscoverEU Inclusion Action in the context of non-formal learning requires that at least a part of the desired learning outcomes is planned in advance, in order to ensure the appropriate opportunities. Participants should contribute to the identification of their needs and the learning that they wish to obtain or develop through their DiscoverEU travel.

Participants should also be involved as much as possible in the design and development of the activity(s) during their travel (setting up the programme, itinerary, activities, booking accommodation, etc.) and think how to prepare to maximise the learning and personal development they would gain during their travel.

After the DiscoverEU travel, participants should be invited to provide feedback on their DiscoverEU experience, reflect on what they have learnt and how they can make use of the learning outcomes.

Organisations should support the learning process, the identification and documentation of the learning outcomes, in particular by using the Youthpass for DiscoverEU participants.

Protection and Safety of participants

DiscoverEU Inclusion Action can involve group leader(s), facilitator(s), accompanying person(s) who can monitor and provide support to the participants in order to ensure a qualitative learning process during the DiscoverEU travel. At the same time, they cater for a safe, respectful and non-discriminatory environment and protection of the participants. During the planning and preparation of a DiscoverEU travel under the DiscoverEU Inclusion Aaction, the issue of protection and safety of the participants should be addressed and all necessary measures to prevent/reduce risks should be foreseen.

Erasmus Youth Quality Standards

The implementation of all projects supported under this Action must follow the Erasmus Youth Quality Standards for organising high quality learning mobility activities. The Erasmus Youth Quality Standards cover the basic principles of the Action, as well as concrete implementation practices for project tasks such as selection and preparation of participants, definition, evaluation and recognition of learning outcomes, sharing of project results, etc. The Erasmus Youth Quality Standards are available here.

Horizontal dimensions

Inclusion and diversity

The Erasmus+ Programme seeks to promote equal opportunities and access, inclusion and fairness across all its actions. Organisations should design accessible and inclusive project activities, taking into account the views of participants with fewer opportunities and involving them in the decision making process.

DiscoverEU Inclusion Action is particularly suitable for inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities:

  • To experience travelling alone as an individual;
  • A group mobility offers international mobility experience in the safety of a group;
  • Due to the short duration and close accompaniment by an organisation, young people with fewer opportunities get the opportunity to experience travelling in a group or even alone.

DiscoverEU Inclusion Action is also suitable to work on inclusion and diversity to support fight against stereotypes, foster understanding, tolerance and non-discrimination.

Environmental sustainability

DiscoverEU should promote environmentally sustainable and responsible behaviour among participants, raising their awareness about the importance of acting to reduce or compensate for the environmental footprint of mobility activities.

The DiscoverEU Inclusion Action should be designed and implemented with environmental consciousness, integrating sustainable practices such as opting for reusable or eco-friendly materials, reducing waste and recycling, opting for sustainable means of transportation.

Digital transformation in DiscoverEU

The Erasmus+ Programme supports all participating organisations in incorporating the use of digital tools and online learning methods to complement physical activities, improve the cooperation between stakeholders, and the quality of the activities. The introduction of digital and online elements to lower the threshold for participation of young people with fewer opportunities is encouraged. Through projects and activities that aim to boost digital skills, foster digital literacy and/or develop an understanding of the risks and opportunities of digital technology, the programme can change mindsets and contribute to developing digital and blended approaches in youth activities.

Depending on the design and objectives of the activities, the development of competences and awareness on digital issues, and the use of new technologies can be introduced in learning mobilities.


The Erasmus+ Programme supports all participating organisations in improving the quality of their projects by integrating a participatory dimension, offering young people relevant opportunities to actively engage and participate in the conception and implementation of project activities as a pathway to discovering the benefits of active citizenship and participation in democratic life. Resources for enhancing the participatory dimension of supported projects can be accessed i.a. via the website Links with and involvement in existing national, international or (other) EU initiatives and platforms revolving around participation and civic engagement are also encouraged.

Criteria used to assess this project

Eligibility Criteria

General Eligibility criteria

The general criteria below apply for the DiscoverEU inclusion action.

Who can apply?

Any eligible participating organisation or group established in an EU Member State or third country associated to the Programme can be the applicant.

Eligible participating organisations

A participating organisation can be:

  • a non-profit organisation, association, NGO; a public body at local, regional, national level; a social enterprise; a profit-making body active in Corporate Social Responsibility;
  • an informal group of young people[fn]Group of at least four young people between 18 and 30 years old. One of the members of the group assumes the role of representative and takes responsibility on behalf of the group. Please check the glossary for the definition of an informal group. For the purpose of this action and any provisions relating to it, “an informal group of young people” shall fit under the notion “participating organisation”. Where a reference is made to “participating organisation” it shall be deemed to cover also an “informal group of young people”.[/fn]

established in an EU Member State or third country associated to the Programme

The same organisation (one OID) cannot be involved in more than 5 applications per deadline in this action, either as applicant or partner.

Number of participating organisations

One participating organisation

Duration of project

From 3 to 24 months

Where to apply?

To the National Agency of the country in which the applicant organisation is established.

When to apply?

Applicants have to submit their grant applications by the following dates:

20 February at 12:00:00 (midday Brussels time) for projects starting between 1 July of the same year and 31 March of the following year

Possible additional round

National Agencies may decide to open an additional round. National Agencies will inform the applicants about the opening of the additional round through their website. If an additional round is organised, applicants have to submit their applications by:

1 October at 12:00:00 (midday Brussels time) for projects starting between 1 March and 31 August of the following year

How to apply?

Please see part C of this Guide for details on how to apply.


A declaration of honour of the legal representative must be annexed to the application form.

Additional Eligibility criteria for DiscoverEU Inclusion Action

Duration per DiscoverEU travel

From 1 to 30 days.

The organisation can organise several DiscoverEU travels (with 1-5 participants and, if needed, accompanying person(s) each time) during the project lifecycle.

Venue(s) of the project

The DiscoverEU travels must take place in minimum one other country different from where the participant(s) started their travel.

Number of participating organisations

One participating organisation must be involved.

Eligible participants

Young people with fewer opportunities[fn]see definition under glossary on “participant with fewer opportunities”[/fn] aged 18[fn]Please consider the following:
lower age limits - participants must have reached the minimum age at the start date of the project.
upper age limits - participants must not be older than the indicated maximum age at the start date of the project.[/fn] and legally residents in the countries of their sending organisation.[/fn]

Group leaders[fn]a group leader is an adult who joins the young people to ensure their effective learning, protection and safety.[/fn], facilitators or accompanying persons involved must be at least 18 years old.

Number of participants and composition of national groups

Minimum 1 and maximum 5 participants per DiscoverEU travel (Group leaders, facilitators and accompanying persons not included). Maximum two accompanying persons per participant when duly justified.

Groups can travel alone or can be accompanied.

Award criteria

Projects will be assessed against the following award criteria. To be considered for funding, proposals must score at least 60 points. Furthermore, they must score at least half of the maximum score points in each of the categories of award criteria mentioned below.

Relevance, rationale and impact (maximum score 40 points)

  • The relevance of the project to:
    • the objectives of the Action;
    • the needs of the participating organisations and participants.
    • The extent to which the project enables learning through discovery;
  • The extent to which the project is relevant for the respect and promotion of shared EU values, such as respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as fighting any sort of discrimination;
  • The potential impact of the project:
    • on participants and participating organisations during and after the project lifetime;
  • The extent to which the organisation can prove previous experience in working with young people with fewer opportunities at grass root level
  • The extent to which the project is suitable of contributing to the inclusion and diversity, green, digital and participatory dimensions of the Programme
  • The extent to which the project introduces newcomers and less experienced organisations to the Erasmus+ programme that can prove experience in working with young people with fewer opportunities

Quality of the project design (maximum score 40 points)

  • The clarity, completeness and quality of all the phases of the project: preparation tailored to the specific needs of the participants, support during the travel, implementation of activities and follow-up;
  • The extent to which the participants are involved in all phases of the activities;
  • The activities are designed in an accessible and inclusive way.
  • The quality of arrangements and support for the reflection process, the identification and documentation of the participants' learning outcomes, and the use of Youthpass;
  • The adequacy and effectiveness of the measures foreseen to ensure safety and protection of participants;
  • The extent to which the activities incorporate sustainable and environmental-friendly practices.

Quality of project management (maximum score 20 points)

  • The quality of the practical arrangements, management and support modalities;
  • The quality of the cooperation and communication with other relevant stakeholders if applicable;
  • The quality of measures for evaluating the different phases and outcomes of the project;
  • The appropriateness and quality of measures aimed at disseminating the outcomes of the project within and outside the participating organisations.

Funding rules

Budget category: Travel costs

Eligible costs and applicable rules

Travel pass: Number of travel passes for the participants.

Number of travel passes of any accompanying person (using the same means of transport as the participants).

Participants will, as a basic rule, travel in the transport mode with the overall lowest greenhouse gas emissions[fn][/fn].

Financing mechanism:

  • Contribution to real costs for the travel pass;
  • Contribution to unit costs: in cases where the country of origin is not directly linked to the train system on continental Europe and additional travel, by other means of transport, is needed in order to reach the country where the mobility starts.
  • Green travel: In case participants need additional travel in order to reach the location where the activity starts, they are also entitled to travel support, including “green travel” where applicable


Travel pass of [fn]7 travel days[ft/]The travel pass is specifically provided for DiscoverEU Inclusion Action and can be used only on the dedicated platform. The travel pass is valid for 30 days in which the participant can travel on as many trains as the participant likes from midnight to midnight on each of the seven travel days. How the other days are spent are at the discretion of the participant.[/fn] within one month.

Contribution for use of other means of transport where applicable

Travel distance Green travel Non-Green travel
10 – 99 km 56 EUR 28 EUR
100 – 499 km 285 EUR 211 EUR
500 – 1999 km 417 EUR 309 EUR
2000 – 2999 km 535 EUR 395 EUR
3000 – 3999 km 785 EUR 580 EUR
4000 – 7999 km 1188 EUR 1188 EUR
8000 km or more 1735 EUR 1735 EUR

Budget category: Organisational Support

Eligible costs and applicable rules

Costs directly linked to the implementation of mobility activities.

Financing mechanism: contribution to unit costs

Rule of allocation: based on the number of participants, excluding group leaders, accompanying persons and facilitators.


125 EUR per participant

Budget category: Individual Support

Eligible costs and applicable rules

Costs linked to subsistence.

Financing mechanism: contribution to unit costs.

Rule of allocation: based on the duration of the stay per participant, including group leaders, accompanying persons and facilitators.


78 EUR per participant per day.

Maximum 21 days of support per participant.

Budget category: Inclusion Support

Eligible costs and applicable rules

Costs related to the organisation of mobility activities for participants with fewer opportunities.

Financing mechanism: contribution to unit costs.

Rule of allocation: based on the number of participants with fewer opportunities, excluding group leaders, accompanying persons and facilitators.


125 EUR per participant

Additional costs directly linked to participants with fewer opportunities and their accompanying persons, including group leaders and facilitators (including justified costs related to travel and subsistence if a grant for these participants is not requested through budget categories "Travel" and "Individual support").

Financing mechanism: real costs.

Rule of allocation: the request must be justified by the applicant and approved by the National Agency.


100% of eligible costs

Budget category: Exceptional costs

Eligible costs and applicable rules

Costs for providing a financial guarantee, if the National Agency asks for it.

Visa and visa-related costs, residence permits, vaccinations, medical certifications.

Reservation costs: in some countries it is not possible to travel without an obligatory seat reservation. Covering those reservations costs on top of the travel pass where applicable is an option.

Expensive travel costs of participants, including  accompanying persons, group leaders and facilitators;  that cannot be supported with the standard "Travel" category due to geographical remoteness or other barriers (i.e. where the use of cleaner, lower carbon emission means of transport results in expensive travel costs). If awarded, the exceptional costs for expensive travel replace the travel support based on unit costs.

Financing mechanism: real costs.

Rule of allocation: the request must be justified by the applicant and approved by the National Agency. Expensive travel applies in cases where the travel support based on unit cost does not cover 70% of the travel costs of participants. If awarded, the exceptional costs for expensive travel replace the non-green travel grant.


Financial guarantee: 80% of eligible costs

Visa and visa-related costs, residence permits, vaccinations, medical certifications: 100% of eligible costs

Reservation costs: 80% of eligible reservation costs

Expensive travel costs: 80% of eligible travel costs

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