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European Natura 2000 Award Ceremony of the European Commission
The team of Green Balkans was among the finalists in the competition.

The official event took place on May 17 in the European Commission building in Brussels as part of the European Day of Natura 2000 celebrations - 21 May. Mr Karmenu Vella - The European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries - personally  awarded the winners in the five categories - "Conservation", "Communication", "Reconciling Interests/Perception", "Cross-Border Cooperation and Networking", "Socio-Economic Benefits". The Green Balkans Initiative for the Restoration of the Lesser kestrel as nesting species in Bulgaria was highly appreciated and was one of the three finalists in the Cross-Border Cooperation category. The Green Balkans project is implemented in partnership with DEMA (Spain), EuroNatur (Germany), Greek National Park - Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, as well as the Turkish NGO DAYKO. As a result of the joint efforts of the partners from these 5 countries, the rare falcons again breed in Bulgaria after for several decades it was believed that the species had disappeared from our country as a breeder. Today, in the colony created by the Green Balkans in Sakar SPA, part of the NATURA 2000 network, more than 20 pairs of Lesser Kestrels nest.

The official award ceremony was attended by more than 170 people from high-ranking jury, the European Commission, the LIFE Program of the EC and various aplicants in the competition. Three other projects with Bulgarian participation were also among the finalists of the contest: "Salt of Life" of the BBF in the category "Communication"; "Safe Ground for Redbreasts" of BSPB in category Reconciling Interests/Perception ' and ''Saving the Egyptian Vulture'' from BirdLife partners in Greece, United Kingdom and Bulgaria (BSPB), as well as WWF-Greece. The final project was also a winner in its category.

Only countries like Spain, whose representatives participate in 6 projects and Greece, with  participants in 5 projects, are ahead of Bulgaria in the prestigious European competition for the Natura 2000 Awards.
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For additional information:
Gradimir Gradev - Green Balkans
Project Manager ''Restoration of Lesser Kestrel'' LIFE11 NAT/BG/360
tel.: 0885 609289, e-mail: