Dr Emmanuel Comte is a historian of European integration and of migration in postwar Europe. He is a senior research fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) in Athens. He has held academic and research positions at the European University Institute in Florence, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB). Emmanuel is a French normalien – a graduate of the École normale supérieure in Paris, where he earned the French agrégation in History in 2007 and a graduate degree in History and International Relations in 2009. He received a European PhD summa cum laude in the History of Europe and International Relations from Sorbonne University in 2014, with a prize-winning dissertation on 'The Formation of the European Migration Regime, 1947–1992.'
His historical work lies at the intersection of three questions of major relevance to contemporary political debates. First, why does immigration generate conflicts and how have those conflicts been solved in Europe's recent past? This expertise is crucial to chart a path for open migration policies in Europe and beyond – which can foster human progress, freedom, and international fairness. Second, how has European integration been working in practice? This knowledge is essential to help us improve it, maintain what it has achieved, and refrain from exploring directions at odds with the forces that have supported it so far. Last, how have European states exerted power on the continent since the end of World War II? In the answer to this question resides the key to developing normative ideas about state power today.
Emmanuel's book, The History of the European Migration Regime: Germany's Strategic Hegemony (Routledge, 2018), investigates the configuration that made free migration possible between the countries of the European Community, then Union. European states changed their pattern of interactions about migration from the late 1940s. With the development of the free movement of people, European citizenship, and the Schengen agreements, the European migration regime has become a cornerstone of European integration and a special case in the global governance of migration. Based on a detailed archival inquiry, Emmanuel discovered that German strategy and economic power were at the root of this transformation. His book explains the favourable regulations for intra-European migration flows through German strategy. He shows that the German economy has stabilised migration flows in Europe for most of the period since the late 1950s and has thereby secured the rules of internal free movement within the Union. The book also shows that the German government has championed those rules to promote its regional interests in postwar and Cold War Europe.
Emmanuel has published scholarly articles in English, French or Spanish in The International Spectator, Afers Internacionals, Cold War History, Labor History, Le Mouvement social, Relations internationales, and the Journal of European Integration History. These articles have contributed to debates in several social science disciplines and have touched upon a variety of fields of expertise. They have addressed the beginnings of the Cold War and European integration, the external relations of the European Union, labour conflicts involving immigrants and native workers, differentiated integration in the European Union, and, most recently, the global pandemic.
Emmanuel has worked in the framework of several collective research projects, funded by the French National Research Agency, the EU's research and innovation funding programme Horizon 2020, and the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (ELIDEK). He has given numerous presentations to a variety of audiences across Europe and the United States, provided geopolitical and economic advice to a European government, advised on migration policy the External Relations Section of the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, intervened in podcasts, radio, and TV programmes (including on The History Channel and France Culture), and published policy briefs, opinions, and blog posts in Le Monde, Euractiv, Kathimerini, the blog of the POLIS Department of the University of Cambridge, and H-Diplo. He has recently started his personal podcast on 'States and migration in Europe,' available on Apple Podcasts and YouTube. He speaks five major European languages — English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish — and has some competency in Dutch and Greek.
Dr Emmanuel Comte
Senior Research Fellow
Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
49, Vasilissis Sofias Avenue