Emmanuel Comte is a historian of European integration and migrations in Europe since 1945. He is a senior researcher at CIDOB, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, and a professorial lecturer at the Vienna School of International Studies (Diplomatische Akademie Wien). He has held academic positions at the European University Institute in Florence and the University of California, Berkeley. Emmanuel is a French normalien – a former student 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 highlight the conditions for liberal state policies about migrations. Free migrations, he believes, can foster human progress, freedom, and international fairness. He has been particularly interested in the configuration that made free migrations possible between the member countries of the European Community, then Union. The formation of the liberal 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 if that configuration is still working, can be improved, or is relevant to other regions. By contrast, he also investigates situations in which postwar European policymakers restricted immigration, often from outside Europe. His objective is to describe the mechanisms that led them inevitably on the path to restrictions. To construct causalities, he resorts to the classical research method of historians. 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), explores the origins of the migration rules that have prevailed within the European Union since the 1990s. With the free movement of people, European citizenship, and the Schengen agreements, the European migration regime has been in the global governance of migration a special case, characterised by a high degree of internal openness and a high degree of external closure. Based on detailed archival inquiry, this book explains the opportunity to migrate within the European Union through German strategy. The German economy has stabilised migration flows in Europe during most decades in the past half-century. By doing so, it has secured the rules of internal free movement within the Union, which the German government has championed since the 1950s to promote its regional interests.
Emmanuel has published scholarly articles in English or French in Cold War History, Labor History, Le Mouvement social, Relations Internationales, and the Journal of European Integration History. He has also produced chapters in books published by Palgrave Macmillan and Peter Lang. Those studies have investigated how migration concerns featured in the beginnings of the Cold War and European integration, the external relations of the European Union, and the conflicts between immigrants and local workers.
To reach a European dimension, Emmanuel reads and speaks the five main European languages — English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish — and has some reading competency in Dutch and Greek.
Dr Emmanuel Comte
CIDOB, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs
Carrer d'Elisabets, 12