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Frontpage News 2009 1250 projects for 1.2 billion

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1250 projects for 1.2 billion

1250 projects, programmes and funds of a total value of €1.230 billion are now set to benefit from financial support through the EEA and Norway Grants. Environmental protection and efforts to preserve our common cultural heritage make up the largest groups of beneficiaries.

On 30 April 2009, the last remaining funding under the grant schemes were committed, resulting in the approval of 1250 projects in 15 countries across Central and Southern Europe.

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Environmental protection is central to the EEA and Norway Grants' values, and around one fourth of the total project support has been allocated towards efforts to protect the environment and promote sustainable development. More than 300 environmental projects will receive funding, and improved energy efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions are at the core of this support. The protection of our common European cultural heritage is another central priority under the grant schemes. Over 200 such projects have been approved to secure the renovation of historical monuments, arts, and documents, making these available for generations to come.

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have also made strengthening civil society a cornerstone of the EEA and Norway Grants. Through 19 NGO funds established in 12 beneficiary states, some 1000 NGO projects are already in implementation. Efforts to strengthen democracy and human rights, fight discrimination, and promote social inclusion are key areas of support under the funds. The largest NGO fund under the grant schemes has been established in Poland, providing sought-after funds for the country's civil society sector. In the summer of 2008, two long awaited NGO funds were also established in Bulgaria and Romania, to support watch-dog activities and public policy initiatives by civil society organisations.

Several countries have also chosen to channel substantial amounts of funding to secure effective protection of the Schengen area's external border. Projects related to border security, police cooperation and a strengthened judiciary are central to this priority sector, and the Schengen support also facilitates cooperation between the Norwegian police and the national police services in the beneficiary states.

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The figures referred to in this text include the Norwegian bilateral cooperation programmes with Bulgaria and Romania, which are administered separately by Innovation Norway.