A Hybrid Regime: The Future of the European Union
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The key question discussed in this dissertation concerns the future path that the European Union could take. Conceptual framework developed to answer this question derives from theories and concepts explaining the rise and decline of empires and the emergence and survival of regimes understood along the lines of hegemonic stability theory. This project involves a review of empire and regime formation theory as possible ways of examining the evolutionary path of the European Union. The European Union is compared to the Holy Roman Empire to analyze its similarities to an empire. Among others, this involves a review of European enlargement and the region’s political institution building as a characteristic of empires. By analyzing major forces driving the European integration in terms of both concepts, it is argued that the European Union is a hybrid regime with characteristics of an empire. I conclude that its survival depends on it retaining the characteristics of a regime rather than an empire.