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Poland, Czech leaders want more regional unity

May 10, 2018
Czech Republic President Milos Zeman watches a military band parade during the welcoming ceremony, in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, May 10, 2018, at the start of his official visit to Poland. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The presidents of Poland and the Czech Republic have called for closer cooperation among central European nations to defend their decision-making powers against pressure from European Union leaders, particularly over migration policies.

Czech President Milos Zeman began his visit to Poland Thursday with a meeting with his Polish host Andrzej Duda.

The neighboring states have been critical of some EU policies — particularly a 2016 plan to redistribute thousands of migrants among member states by quota. They are also opposed to a new proposed system for granting asylum and relocation.

Zeman said Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary — members of the so-called Visegrad Group — are under pressure to accept the views of the EU governing body, and should strengthen their unity to defend their own interests.

“That doesn’t mean a negation of the European Union,” Zeman told reporters. He said the four countries should “build within the EU framework an indivisible unity that will be able to push through (their) joint interests.”

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