The World Bank has launched a $200 million project to support economic integration in the Western Balkans.
Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva told a meeting of leaders in Bulgaria on Thursday that their countries will see transportation costs reduced and trade expanded under the bank-financed project.
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Besides Bulgaria, the other countries are Albania, Bosna, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
Bulgaria takes over the European Union's rotating presidency next month and has made furthering the Western Balkans' presence in the EU a priority.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov told fellow leaders: "It is only up to us to demonstrate that the countries of our region bring prosperity rather than problems to the EU."
Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci said all Western Balkan countries "must enter the EU in a bloc to ensure long-term peace and cooperation."