The long-simmering conflict between the westernmost member states on one hand and Poland and Hungary on the other took a significant turn for the worse on Monday when the two eastern states blocked the EU’s new budget and coronavirus rescue package at a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels.

Poland and Hungary have been criticised by Brussels for allegedly going against the founding principles of the European Union. Specifically they have been charged with compromising the independence of the judiciary and interfering with independent media while making life more difficult for some NGOs.

Both countries reject the charges and say that they are upholding European values and the concept of the traditional family.

They have also refused to take in an allocation of migrants and refugees, citing the experiences of western countries in the wake of large-scale resettlement of immigrants, the problems of non-integration and high crime rates among the newly-arrived.

FILE PHOTO: Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki looks on as other leaders speak on the second day of a European Union summit at the European Council Building in Brussels, Belgium October 2, 2020. Aris Oikonomou/Pool via REUTERS