60.000 free youth rail tickets to be issued in Germany and France this summer
As part of the countries’ reignited love for the Franco-German alliance, transport ministers Volker Wissing and Clément Beaune have announced a new free train ticket policy for people under 27 during the summer of 2023.
Free French and German trains for young people this summer
Volker Wissing and Clément Beaune, Germany and France’s respective ministers for transport, have announced a new policy whereby 60.000 young people in both countries will be able to travel by train for free in summer, 2023. The news comes as France and Germany celebrate 60 years of renewed allyship.
In a joint press release the ministers wrote, “60.000 tickets will be made available free of charge, according to terms and conditions which will be specified shortly.” The 60.000 randomly-allocated free tickets will be valid for rail travel between the two countries, with national rail services Deutsche Bahn and France's SNCF picking up the bill for young travellers.
Wissing announced later on Twitter that the tickets would be available to people under 27 years old.
Franco-German relations on a recent high
Germany and France have a colourful political and historical relationship marked by three distinct periods. One of Franco-Prussian war “enmity”, another of post-WWII “reconciliation” and the modern Franco-German Friendship which has existed since the early 1960s.
More recently, the bond between the two countries has been strained in the face of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with Macron urging Scholz to deliver Germany’s much-needed Leopard tanks to Zelenskyy’s army, a move that Berlin only succumbed to on Wednesday after days of pressure.
Despite the tensions, spirits were high as Scholz visited Paris for the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, signed by German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French President Charles de Gaulle in 1963 to mark the beginning of the countries’ modern alliance. The new summer train ticket policy is intended to further strengthen the relationship, exchange and movement between the two European superpowers.
Both ministers added that the scheme would help to encourage climate-friendly travel throughout the summer. “The plan aims to achieve our climate objectives for the transport sector. We need to convince even more people to travel by train. To do this, we have to offer attractive offers," Wissing said, speaking to French newspaper Liberation.
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