Leaders of European far-right and nationalist parties on Saturday discussed joint votes on sovereignty and immigration issues in the European Parliament but stopped short of striking a formal alliance at a conference in Warsaw.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and the host, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of Poland's ruling right-wing populist Law and Justice (PiS) party were among the leaders at the talks.

In a joint statement, they rejected the notion of "a Europe governed by a self-appointed elite" and said that "only the sovereign institutions of the states have full democratic legitimacy".

"The participants also discussed closer cooperation of their respective parties in the European Parliament," the statement said.

This would include "organising joint meetings and aligning the votes on common issues, such as protection of sovereignty of the member states and the stance on illegal immigration," it added.

One notable absentee was Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's League, which put out a statement saying that "the time needs to be right" for the new group.

Salvini was one of the signatories of a declaration in July by 16 parties and movements announcing plans for a "grand alliance" in the European Parliament -- the prelude for Saturday's talks.

The League and Le Pen's National Rally are in the European Parliament's Identity and Democracy Group, while PiS, Vox and the Brothers of Italy party are in the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.

Orban's Fidesz left the centre-right European People's Party, the biggest group in the European Parliament, in March and is looking for a new home.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said forming a new group could take months French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said forming a new group could take months Photo: AFP / Wojtek RADWANSKI

Le Pen, a candidate in France's presidential election in April, said the meeting in Warsaw had been "an important step" and participants had "undertaken to hold regular meetings in order to ensure joint voting between the two groups".

"This is an advance that suits me very well and allows me to be optimistic for the future."

Le Pen said she hoped that eventually a single group in the European Parliament could be formed which would be the second biggest force after the centre-right European People's Party.

She said that such an alliance was "all the more necessary now that we are faced with a German coalition which has made federalism a priority and will definitely also increase migration pressure".

The conference also comes amid a bitter dispute between Poland and Hungary on one side and the EU, which is holding back the release of pandemic recovery funds for the two countries, on the other.

Poland and Hungary accuse the EU of undermining their sovereignty while Brussels says the two countries are rolling back democratic freedoms.

The leaders agreed to hold their next meeting in Spain "within the next couple of months".

"We want to change the politics of Brussels," Orban wrote on Facebook ahead of Saturday's meeting.

Around a dozen activists protested outside the Regent Warsaw Hotel during the talks, shouting "No to fascism!" and "Russian Order!" -- a reference to the pro-Moscow views of some of the leaders.