The EU has just collected a Nobel peace prize in Norway, but many in Brussels worry that the bloc is still home to numerous human rights violations. Migrants are a major victim group.
If they arrive in Europe as refugee seekers, they’re usually placed behind bars while their asylum applications are processed.
Refugee advocates worry that detention will continue even under new asylum rules which Europe is now crafting. Access to citizenship is also problematic, according to some.
And analysts voice another concern: several European countries, particularly the Netherlands, make it extremely difficult for foreigners to join family members living in the EU.
In order for someone to join their family in the Netherlands, they need to take a civic and a Dutch language test - a requirement which breaches the right to family reunification under EU law.
So, when European countries mistreat migrants, can anybody at all punish them? Theoretically, yes. The EU’s executive body, the European Commission is supposed to take action against any European government which violates EU law.
But it rarely does that. The job of the Commission is to propose legislation. So, experts say, it’s afraid of suing European governments whose support it needs for its proposals.