The Visegrad group, which includes Czechia, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, should expand to include Slovenia, President Miloš Zeman said at the first joint V4 meeting since Russia invaded Ukraine.
During the meeting in Bratislava, leaders discussed energy security, inflation and the potential expansion of the Visegrad group to other countries.
Zeman said he appreciated that all V4 countries had assisted Ukrainian refugees, noting that cooperation within the group is as useful as other similar formats, such as those within the Benelux countries.
“Visegrad has proven its role by preventing attempts to distribute illegal migrants by quotas among individual European countries,” said Zeman, who also spoke in favour of expanding the V4 group to include Slovenia, which he said belongs to Visegrad cooperation.
The presidents of Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, used the post-summit press conference to praise Zeman, whose second presidential mandate ends at the beginning of the next year.
Polish President Andrzej Duda described him as a witty politician, while President Katalin Nováková said Zeman would be missed at the meetings.
Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová pointed to the inconsistent position of the V4 countries on military aid to Kyiv.
Hungary had earlier refused to allow Western arms supplies to flow through its territory to Ukraine.
However, Zeman, who was well-known for his pro-Russian stance before the war in Ukraine and also had sympathy for the Hungarian government, said that Budapest is assisting Kyiv with demining Ukrainian territory.