But most similarities are less flattering. Both the European Union and the empire are characterized by interminable and inconclusive debate. The German phrase for delay, which translates as “shoving something onto the long bench,” stems from when imperial bureaucrats pushed their uncompleted paperwork farther and farther down a long bench in the Reichstag council chamber.

And like the European Union, which is rived by tensions between larger and smaller states, the Holy Roman Empire proved too weak to contain over-mighty members like Prussia and Austria. Fears of partition and collapse abounded. The Reichstag was paralyzed; the emperor was hamstrung by rival princes. (Read entire article here).