Politicisation of Travelling.
Interrail and Freedom
Travelling is today an important aspect of the European political agenda-setting of both individual actors and institutions. The paradigms of car and air travel are contested in terms of climate change; I continue the contestation from the perspective of political liberty. Three paradigms of personal travel – by car, by flight and by train – are confronted with two concepts of liberty: the freedom from interference versus the freedom from dependence.
Three ideal types of travel – travelling to, travelling away and travelling around – are judged from the perspective of the two freedoms. Train travel by Interrail is a political innovation that links the freedom of movement to the freedom from dependence on the national states. The EU could offer, with systematic and coherent pro-railway support, travellers’ freedom from dependence, and I suggest some simple pro-railway measures and steps towards parliamentarisation of travel politics. The conceptual point of the article is that freedom of movement can also be regarded as a part of freedom from dependence. In the Postscript I dispute the closing of borders under the corona lockdown and speculate how to retain the freedom of train travel under the condition of keeping the necessary distance from others.
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