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As far as I understand, all member states have a veto in the European Council when it comes to questions of immigration and national security. The question of admitting refugees definitely affects both, at least to my layman judgement.

So why couldn't the V4 countries veto the proposal to suspend the Dublin system back in 2015? Doing so would prevent the quota system from being introduced in the first place since all EU countries would only be responsible for refugees that entered their country first.

  • Has there been a vote to suspend the Dublin system? There might be, I'm just not aware of any. Please supply a reference. – Sjoerd Jun 14 '17 at 18:04
  • @Sjoerd There has been a vote to introduce the quota system which automatically suspended the Dublin regulation. It's hard to find the exact details. – JonathanReez Jun 14 '17 at 18:13
  • That vote was by qualified majority. I recall some countries being opposed to it, but it still passed. – Sjoerd Jun 14 '17 at 18:17
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This question kind of answers itself: they couldn't veto it because unanimity is not required. Asylum policy is decided by qualified majority voting. See the page on Vote Watch for the breakdown of votes.

Council Decision (EU) 2015/1523 included a derogation from the Dublin rules so that asylum seekers could be transferred from Greece and Italy to other member states.

A challenge to the decision by Slovakia and Hungary was rejected by the ECJ. This included Poland's claim that the decision prejudiced its national security (paras 306-308).

(Poland voted for the decision but after a change of government joined with Hungary in its legal challenge.)

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