Benelux and Central European leaders meet, seeking unity

Beata Szydlo, Mark Rutte, Xavier Bettel, Robert Fico, Viktor Orban, Charles Michel, Bohuslav SobotkaThe Associated Press
From left : Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Belgium;s Prime Minister Charles Michel and Czech's Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, pose for a group photo in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, June 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

The leaders of four Central European nations have met in Warsaw with their counterparts from the Benelux nations, a gathering that brings together two blocs within the European Union with very different views on key issues.

The meeting Monday, in which the sides said they voiced unusual openness with each other, marked a search for greater understanding as Britain began difficult negotiations on leaving the union.

Leaders said they discussed difficult issues, including the future of the EU after Brexit, Russia and perhaps the most divisive issue of all — migration.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said the EU only has a future if the 27 remaining members stay together.

Charles Michel of Belgium called it "a very intense meeting without any taboos."