Ivan Brajovic, the speaker of Montenegro’s parliament, has set April 15 as the date for the country’s next presidential election, with a possible second round two weeks later if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the first round vote. Incumbent President Filip Vujanovic has served two consecutive five-year terms since Montenegro became an independent nation and is no longer eligible to run.” (RFE/RL)

“Serbia and Montenegro are likely be the next countries to join the European Union, possibly by 2025, the bloc’s official in charge of membership bids said in an interview. The European Union is launching a diplomatic effort to accelerate steps to bring six countries in the Western Balkans into the EU fold after years of stop-start progress. ‘It is time to finish the work of 1989,’ European Commissioner Johannes Hahn told Reuters, referring to the EU’s eastward expansion after the fall of the Berlin Wall. ‘We have set 2025 as an indicative date for Serbia and Montenegro, which is realistic but also very ambitious.’ ‘Either we export stability to the region or we import instability,’ Hahn said, arguing that the EU’s accession process was the best way to fight corruption, organized crime and the threat of authoritarianism in the region. Hahn is set to visit Serbia in February after publishing the Commission’s official Balkan strategy on Feb. 6, followed by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who is expected to visit all six countries in a gesture of support. Hahn will also travel to Washington next month to meet U.S. State Department officials to outline the EU’s Balkan push. With neighboring Bulgaria holding the EU’s rotating presidency from January to June, European Union leaders will hold a special Balkan summit in Sofia in May. Britain is also set to host another top-level Balkan gathering in July.” (Reuters)

“Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor is understood to be in talks with an unnamed US fund on the sale of its assets in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and probably Hungary for €2bn ($2.44 billion).  The potential buyer will get access to some 10mn clients in the four countries, though it is still unclear whether the sale will include assets in Hungary.  The news was initially reported by Mergermarket, and Bulgarian news outlet Capital later reported it has received confirmation from one unnamed source that Telenor entered into exclusive talks with the fund in December 2017. The company has not yet confirmed the information.  The name of the buyer is unknown, but a source quoted by Capital said it does not have presence on the SEE mobile phone market. There is also speculation the investor could be US fund KKR, which owns a satellite TV operator in Serbia.” (BNE IntelliNews)