Germany and France are giving away free train tickets to 60,000 young people on a first-come to celebrate their 60-year friendship treaty, the Élysee Treaty.
1. Élysee Treaty
The Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Friendship, was signed on January 22, 1963, by French President Charles de Gaulle and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. It marked a significant milestone in Franco-German relations and aimed to solidify reconciliation and cooperation between the two countries after years of conflict, particularly during World War II.
“Current events in Europe show how important mutual exchange is for the continuation of a peaceful and democratic Europe,” said German Transport Minister Volker Wissing, who launched the initiative with his French counterpart Clément Beaune.
Beaune added that the initiative is also aimed at encouraging more young people to take the train, noting how it is in line with France’s climate ambitions.
The pre-requisite for eligibility is for the applicants to be between 18 and 27 and to be living in France or Germany. The tickets are meant to encourage young people to travel within the neighbouring country and to foster relations between the French and the Germans, as well for each country’s culture and history.
The tickets can be used for seven days as of July 1 until the end of the year. Residents in France can register through the French site and those in Germany should use the German site. The tickets allow travelers to go freely around the other country and there is no requirement to enter and depart the country using the same city.
The two countries rail services, Deutsche Bahn and SNCF, will support the scheme financially.
3. New high-speed route
While presenting the free schemen, Wissing and Beaune also announced that a new TGV train route between Paris and Berlin is due to start running in 2024. For the time being, a trip between the two capital cities requires travellers to change at a separate station such as Cologne or Frankfurt. A night train linking the cities is also being introduced later this year.