Emmanuel Comte is a historian of European integration and migrations in Europe since 1945. He is a senior research fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and a professorial lecturer at the Vienna School of International Studies (Diplomatische Akademie Wien). 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 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 migration policies. Migrations, he believes, can foster human progress, freedom, and international fairness. He has investigated the configuration that made free migrations possible between the 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. 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 on the path to restrictions inevitably. 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), investigates how the interactions among European states about migration have evolved since the late 1940s. With the development of 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. Based on a 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 of the past six decades. 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 The International Spectator, Afers InternacionalsCold 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. They include the beginnings of the Cold War and European integration, the external relations of the European Union, the conflicts between immigrants and local workers, differentiated integration in the European Union, and, most recently, the global pandemic.

Emmanuel reads and speaks the five main European languages — English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish — and has some competency in Dutch and Greek.


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