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 and a professorial lecturer at the Vienna School of International Studies (Diplomatische Akademie Wien). He has held other 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 thesis titled 'The Formation of the European Migration Regime, 1947–1992.'
His historical research aims to explain the conditions for open migration policies. Migration, he believes, can foster human progress, freedom, and international fairness. He has investigated the configuration that made free migration possible between the countries of the European Community, then Union. The formation of the open migration regime within Europe has been a remarkable achievement and a cornerstone of European integration. Through his investigations, he discovered that Germany’s strategy and economic power in postwar Europe were at the root of this transformation. His current research aims to evaluate whether that configuration is still working, can be improved, or is relevant to other regions. He also investigates situations in which postwar European policymakers restricted immigration, often from outside Europe. His objective is to find the mechanisms that led them on the path to restrictions. To construct causalities, he resorts to the classical historical research method. He looks for qualitative documents in which he critically evaluates social actors’ motivations and their negotiations.
Emmanuel's book, The History of the European Migration Regime: Germany's Strategic Hegemony (Routledge, 2018), investigates the changing pattern of interactions among European states about migration since the late 1940s. With the development of the free movement of people, European citizenship, and the Schengen agreements, the European migration regime has become in the global governance of migration a special case. Based on a detailed archival inquiry, this book explains the favourable regulations for intra-European migration flows through German strategy. The German economy has stabilised migration flows in Europe for most of the period since the late 1950s. By doing so, it has secured the rules of internal free movement within the Union, which the German government has championed to promote its regional interests.
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. Those works explain the evolution of migration policies in postwar Europe and the role of migration in various questions of postwar European history. Such questions include the beginnings of the Cold War and European integration, the external relations of the European Union, the relations between immigrants and native workers, differentiated integration in the European Union, and, most recently, the global pandemic.
Emmanuel has worked in the framework of a variety of 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 opinions and blog posts in Le Monde, Euractiv, Kathimerini, and the blog of the POLIS Department of the University of Cambridge. 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