EU plans travel subsidy program

planeThe European Union believes travel is a fundamental human right and plans to offer money for those who would not otherwise be able to travel.

The National Post quotes Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, as saying “travelling for tourism today is a right… the way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life.”

Regardless of whether you agree that travel is a human right, what’s more startling is that the EU apparently intends to subsidize vacations for those who can’t afford their own trips.

As far as I can tell, the article is not a joke. Several other European sources are running the same piece and we’re well past April fool’s day.

The actual human right to travel I agree with, but I’ve always understood that freedom as simply the freedom to move around between nation-states. For example, Article 13 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reads: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

In the sense that everyone should have the right to go where they would like to go, I think most people would agree that “travel” is a basic human right.

Having the government subsidize the cost of traveling is obviously something else entirely.

As much of a proponent of travel as I am, I can’t help thinking that using tax dollars to send people traveling is a bit, well, maybe a bit too much. There’s something perverse about taxing people, taking money away, and then giving them a bit of that money back to go travel.

At the same time, it would be pretty naïve to argue that anyone can travel. There are plenty of people who have neither the money nor the means to get the money that traveling requires. Cheap though it may be, travel is not within everyone’s grasp.

So, what do you think, should governments subsidize travel?

[Photo credit: Astacus, Flickr]

Posted by | Comments (9)  | April 20, 2010
Category: General

9 Responses to “EU plans travel subsidy program”

  1. jmm Says:

    It’s ironic that so many of these governments tightly control citizenship.

    I remember being in Paris with a bunch of immigrants from French Africa who commented that France’s riches were largely sourced from their countries and they viewed it as their right to enter France and partake in the wealth.

    There are so many other human rights to answer for first.

  2. Nicolaï Says:

    True or not, it’s a joke.

  3. Frank Says:

    Let’s be a little careful here when we say matter-of-factly, “most people would agree that “travel” is a basic human right”. I agree that it is – or should be. However, the US government has a travel ban on Cuba and many influential NGO’s argue for a travel ban on Burma. Furthermore, some people argue for travel boycotts of countries that don’t adhere to Western “Human Rights” standards.

  4. Rebecca Says:

    Interesting that the EU will be subsidizing travel. You could say travel is a human right, but one would think they “powers at be” would concentrate on more important matters such as education, the Earth, health care, etc…rather than travel.

  5. Kim M Says:

    I think if more Americans travelled outside the US and could really experience life in another culture it would change the nature of the discussion on many topics. We are very fortunate here in ways that one doesn’t really grasp until you experience life outside our borders. True, we have many problems that need addressing here but perhaps a traveling public would be more cosmopolitan in our approach to meeting our many needs.

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  7. Paul Says:

    If true, it seems to me like it’s a reasonable idea, except for one thing: most EU countries seem to have a percentage of their population who are homeless – even the Scandinavian countries, with their cradle-to-grave welfare systems.

    It would be nice if the money could be found to house these people, before looking at the problem of making travel available to everyone.

  8. Carousel — 04.23.10 | evolution you Says:

    […] EU plans travel subsidy program: This is just too fantastic! One more reason why I am completely in love with the beautiful […]