In October, Zeman will attend the V4 summit in Bratislava

Milan Malíček

President Miloš Zeman will personally attend the presidential summit of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries in October. It will take place on October 11th in Bratislava. The heads of state of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary will discuss the war in Ukraine or the energy crisis, said Rudolf Jindrák, director of the castle’s diplomacy.

Slovakia organizes the meeting of heads of state as part of its presidency of the Visegrad countries. Their meeting is held once a year in the autumn. Next year, it will take place in the Czech Republic, which will take over the V4 presidency from Slovakia.

The forthcoming meeting will be divided into two sessions, separated by a working lunch. According to Jindrak, the presidents will discuss two main topics: the current security situation in the context of the war in Ukraine and energy-related issues. Jindrák noted that the chosen plan corresponds to the importance and attention all member states give to the topics.

The meeting of V4 heads of state is the first such high-level meeting of Visegrad leaders since the beginning of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. “This is a good opportunity to exchange views on the developments in Ukraine. And it will certainly be interesting to have a discussion with Hungarian President (Katalin) Novak,” Jindrak added, referring to some aspects of Hungary’s different view on the Ukrainian crisis. While the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia are among the leading countries supporting Ukraine, Hungary, for example, is reticent about anti-Russian sanctions.

For the last time, Zeman…

According to Jindrák, it is possible that the politicians will raise other topical issues at the meeting and focus on their respective countries’ internal political situation. He also stressed the symbolic aspect of the meeting, where heads of state show citizens that they are interested in the Visegrad format of cooperation.

While for Nováková, the V4 summit in Bratislava in October will be a premiere after she takes office in May, for Zeman, it will be a dernière. According to Jindrák, it will be an opportunity to say goodbye to his presidential colleagues, as he does not plan to go to Poland or Hungary before the end of his term.

Zeman had to limit his foreign trips due to his health condition. After a hospital stay last year, he said doctors had banned him from long flights. Jindrák said it had not yet been decided whether he would fly or drive to Bratislava. It will depend on the opinion of the doctors.