As his country joined the European Union yesterday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev said in an interview with Kathimerini that Greece’s support helped the Balkan country join the bloc. «The Greek side helped our efforts in the last 10 years,» said the Bulgarian premier. «The growth in trade between the two countries, such as important Greek investments in Bulgaria, have also had their own practical and beneficial role for the successful course of entry into the European family,» he added. Bulgaria and Romania – two ex-communist nations from one of the poorest corners of Europe – joined the EU yesterday to bring the bloc’s membership to 27 nations. The two new member states bring 30 million people into the EU, giving the bloc a new population of half a billion. Stanishev also expressed optimism over the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline.