The European Commission has, on a proposal from Mrs. Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner responsible for the environment, selected 63 projects for funding under the NATURE section of the LIFE financial instrument for the environment. The 63 projects will receive total funding of ECU 43 million. The selected sites will all be part of the "Natura 2000" European ecological network, created by the Habitats Directive, and are in all Member States of the EU. The LIFE financial instrument dedicates half of its budget to the protection of nature. In addition to the benefits for the natural environment, the LIFE funding for these projects will create some 500 jobs for the next three years. Examples of the projects to be funded include the protection of natural habitats such as heathlands in Belgium, grey dunes in Denmark, steppic zones in Sardinia, bog woodlands in Finland and estuaries in the United Kingdom. Other projects to be funded include the protection of endangered species such as the brown bear and the Bonelli's eagle.