European Union Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has suggested a key stability and association agreement (SAA) with Montenegro could be in place by the end of 2006.
Rehn's comments followed talks with Montenegrin leader Milo Djukanovic, who says his country could fulfil all joining conditions in a few years.
Montenegro voted to become an independent state in a public referendum on 21 May. The EU then issued a declaration officially recognising the result, and called on the governments of Montenegro and Serbia to set up immediate negotiations on the ending of the federation between the two states.
The SAA is seen as the first step to joining the EU.
30 May 2006