Opinions

This page showcases the insights of Dr Emmanuel Comte into topical challenges and debates about human movement in Europe. It provides you with key instruments for deciphering current events. Several of these analyses have made their way into op-eds in major newspapers or are accessible on Dr Comte’s Substack platform. By subscribing to Dr Comte’s Substack, you can ensure you stay current with his latest publications.

2024-4 – France’s Looming Budget Crisis
The French state’s budget situation is quickly becoming unsustainable, with public deficits reaching alarming levels – a reality that has been obscured by misleading reporting. By simply stating there is a “5.5% deficit” without clarifying that this figure is a percentage of the GDP or questioning the merits of using GDP as a measure, most media outlets are failing to convey the true scale of the problem to the public. The reality is the state’s deficit represents nearly one-third of its total expenditures! The impending budgetary correction will inevitably lead to major economic and social upheaval.

2024-3 – Greece’s Immigrant Regularisation Programme: A Repeat of France’s 1981 Misstep?
As Greece has launched another major regularisation programme for undocumented migrants, a comparison with France’s 1981 similar initiative provides us with insights. Drawing a parallel between the two programmes offers a crucial lens to raise questions about the effectiveness and unintended long-term consequences of such policies based on the lessons learned from the French experience. This piece delves into the similarities between the French precedent and Greece’s current approach, unpacking the complexities of simply regularising clandestine immigrants in a bid to manage perceived labour shortages and social issues.

2024-2 – The Second Reformation Has Just Begun
What do Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in October 2022, Tucker Carlson’s stellar success as an independent journalist since June 2023, Javier Milei’s rise as a libertarian firebrand elected president of Argentina last November, the layoff of 20,000 journalists in the US media sector in 2023, and Claudine Gay’s resignation as Harvard’s president in January amid social media-led plagiarism accusations have all in common? These cracks signal an ongoing tectonic shift in the bedrock of Western culture and politics. They parallel the early upheavals of the Protestant Reformation centuries ago, which ultimately toppled the medieval Catholic Church’s spiritual dominance.

2024-1 – Why Brexit Was at Odds with Libertarianism
Many libertarians supported Brexit, believing it would reduce governmental layers and bring power closer to the British people. They saw it as an opportunity to escape the control of Brussels’ technocracy, expecting increased autonomy and economic freedom. However, this article argues that Brexit, rather than decreasing government control, intensified it in the UK. Some libertarians supported Brexit due to a misunderstanding of the European Union’s essential nature and role.

2023-8b – The Role of Statism in Fomenting Social Chaos in France
While France grapples with social and ethnic tensions of a magnitude unprecedented in its modern history, the primary political response has been to advocate for an enhanced role for the state. However, this reflexive reliance on statism is precisely what has steered the country into its current deadlock.

2023-8a – Tensions sociales en France : l’étatisme à l’origine du chaos
Alors que la France est aujourd’hui confrontée à des tensions sociales et ethniques d’une ampleur inédite dans son histoire contemporaine, la principale réponse politique consiste à réclamer un renforcement du rôle de l’État. Cet automatisme étatiste est pourtant ce qui a conduit le pays dans son impasse actuelle.

2023-7 – Beyond the Oil Shock Myth: The Real Roots of Europe’s Immigration Controls
As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1973 oil crisis this autumn, it is crucial to address a common misconception: the belief that the oil embargo, primarily led by Arab nations, catalysed a shift towards restrictive immigration policies in numerous European countries, laying the foundation for enduring restrictions on immigration from the Global South. The oil crisis has been largely overstated in its impact on altering immigration policies.

2023-6 – The Fallacy of Closing Borders: Why Europe Cannot Afford to Get Immigration Wrong – Again
Ethnic tensions are escalating throughout Europe, heightened by a series of terrorist acts perpetrated by Muslim immigrants. At the same time, criminal activities involving immigrants have caught significant media attention. In response, there is a growing demand for more restrictive immigration rules and tougher border management. Calls like “We’ve been too lenient with immigration” or “We must change our policy due to the risks posed by immigration” are increasingly heard. Such sentiment is hardly new, however. It has pervaded European discourse for decades. In blindly adhering to this view, Europe is today further sleepwalking into a potentially catastrophic ethnic conflict.

2023-5 – The Lausanne legacy in a new European light: A re-examination of Greek-Turkish relations
A century on from the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, on 24 July 1923, a pivotal moment in European history, we consider its enduring impact, its changing relevancy in our age of European integration, and most crucially, its implications on Greek-Turkish relations. Conceived in the tumult of the Ottoman Empire’s disintegration in 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne was a beacon of resolution for Greek-Turkish conflicts. It accomplished this by organising population exchanges and territorial transfers, which in turn fortified the notion of homogeneous nation-states – a concept increasingly at odds with the intricacies of today’s Europe.

2023-4b – The bad government: The deep roots of France’s unrest and why more immigration restrictions will make things worse
Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s frescoes adorning the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena tell a timeless tale of governance. They portray a city flourishing under just laws and crumbling under misrule. The latter side of this allegory rings alarmingly relevant today, as the recent riots in France paint a destructive urban tableau, mirroring the narrative of government failure. The situation has deteriorated so drastically that widespread use of force is now inevitable, especially to remove the military arsenal flourishing in the suburbs. Yet, addressing the faulty policies which led to this situation is just as paramount. French decline has reached such depths because all political parties have fixated on ineffective responses and have overlooked the roots of the problem.

2023-4a – Le mauvais gouvernement: Les causes profondes des émeutes en France et pourquoi de nouvelles restrictions à l’immigration aggraveront encore la situation

Les fresques d’Ambrogio Lorenzetti ornant le Palazzo Pubblico à Sienne racontent une histoire éternelle de la politique. Elles dépeignent une cité prospérant sous des lois justes et s’effondrant sous de mauvaises. Ce dernier volet de l’allégorie est aujourd’hui d’une actualité brûlante, alors que les émeutes en France peignent un tableau urbain désolé, reflétant un échec de l’action publique. La situation s’est tellement détérioré qu’un usage généralisé de la force est désormais inévitable, notamment pour saisir l’arsenal militaire qui prospère dans les banlieues. Pourtant, il est tout aussi essentiel de s’attaquer aux mauvaises politiques qui ont conduit à cette situation. Le déclin français a atteint un tel degré parce que tous les partis politiques se sont focalisés sur des réponses inefficaces et ont négligé les racines du problème.

2023-3 – Migration reimagined: why states should think differently in the face of tragedy
On 14 June, off the coast of Pylos, Greece, a ship carrying 750 hopeful migrants met with disaster. The incident claimed at least 80 lives and left hundreds missing, thrusting the migration issue back into the global spotlight. The incident has sparked a range of political responses across Greece and Europe. Some advocate for tighter immigration controls, while others propose a broader regulatory scheme at the European level. But they are overlooking a crucial fact: increased state control over immigration is not a cure-all solution.

2023-2 – The latest EU migration agreement: a misguided continuation of a flawed approach
The recently announced migration agreement reached by EU Home Affairs ministers on 8 June 2023, touted by officials as a historic breakthrough in protracted negotiations, is not as transformative as it claims. Rather, it perpetuates the EU’s controversial stance on immigration, as manifested in the practice of pushbacks, the militarisation of external borders, and the undermining of asylum.

2023-1 – From crisis to opportunity: a new vision for the EU’s immigration policy
Recently, alarming incidents involving the Greek Navy and asylum seekers have underlined the European Union’s struggle to manage its borders sustainably. Videos reveal the Greek coastguard forcibly pushing back asylum seekers towards Turkey, while, in another incident, a group of asylum seekers were found dead on a Greek island after their boat capsized. These problems are indicative of a system at odds with the EU’s principles of fairness, dignity, and freedom.

April – The misunderstood German policy with Russia
Before the recent reversal in German foreign policy, commentaries had presented Germany over the last weeks and months as a dangerously cowardly country, delaying a united European front against Russia. They have put forward Germany’s extensive economic ties with Russia and reluctance to supply the Ukrainian side with weapons. As a matter of fact, however, Germany has been the major power supporting Ukraine’s realignment with the West and attempting to prevent Russia from invading the country from the beginning.

March – The illusions and perils of restrictive migration policies
The recent condemnations of the number of migrants pushed back at the EU’s external borders, the generalisation of migration control within the EU, and the new inflows following the outbreak of war in Ukraine interrogate the suitability of the current restrictive migration policies in Europe.

March – Post-Brexit UK has not ‘taken back’ control of immigration
Brexit happened, and a new EU-UK agreement entered into force at the beginning of 2021. But migration is mostly absent from the text. Does it mean that the UK has ‘taken back’ control of immigration, as the ‘Leave’ campaign had promised? A careful analysis shows this is not the case. On the contrary, the lack of cooperation with the EU on migration creates a dangerous situation to manage migration flows.

October – The Greek-Turkish crisis calls for negotiation
To justify French intervention in the Greek-Turkish crisis, President Emmanuel Macron resorted to Western rhetoric that has been well-established for decades. France would react to the wrongdoings of Mr Erdogan, which would live in the fantasies of the Ottoman past. Macron presented himself as the defender of the weak against an aggressive neighbour, to restore the rule of international law, and ensure stability. However, this is an inappropriate and risky rhetoric that France should replace by a political negotiation to find an acceptable solution that keeps Turkey as a reliable member of the Western alliance.

May – L’Union européenne reste le centre de gravité des stratégies économiques et politiques de sortie de crise
Crise économique de l’Allemagne, mobilité à l’intérieur de l’Union et difficultés des pays pauvres autour du continent, tels sont les trois véritables risques qui peuvent faire plonger l’Europe dans une crise existentielle.