Despite a drop in the number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe following tighter border controls and a range of EU-funded projects to discourage migration to Europe, the three Eastern European countries have maintained their hardline stance against allowing more migrants to settle.
They claim the mainly-Muslim refugees have no place in their predominantly Christian societies and cite security concerns following a series of terror attacks carried out by Islamist militants in western Europe.
Western nations, some of which are net contributors to the EU budget, have been left infuriated and say Poland, Hungary and Warsaw should have their funding cut until they agree to comply with the rules of the club.
This incendiary approach has in turn enraged Eastern European leaders, who have described such plans as “blackmail” and vowed to fight them tooth and nail.
The growing and increasingly acrimonious divide between East and West is widely perceived in Brussels to be a much greater threat to the bloc’s future than Brexit.
With the trio’s reluctance to help host migrants from Africa and the Middle East who came to Europe mainly in 2015 has opened a rift with many other European governments.
These include Greece and Italy, two countries that have been the first port of call for refugees and migrants, as well as Germany and other wealthy Western nations that are frequently their preferred final destinations.
Currently the most severe punishment the EU can levy on a member state is suspension of its voting rights, but this requires a unanimous vote of the other 27 that is “impossible” to achieve in reality.
Eurocrats have also established a Rule of Law framework they can use to address rebellious member states, but its recommendations are “not legally binding and there are no hard incentives for errant member-states to comply”.
A Centre for European Reform report released last month states: “It cannot be right that the EU is forced by its own rules to subsidise member-states that flout EU values, and in doing so damage their own economic prospects.