The European Union (EU) is commonly portrayed as a distinct and even unique foreign policy actor. After all, no other regional organisation has ever aspired to a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). None has ever sought to define a doctrine to guide its external action as the EU did with its European Security Strategy (ESS) (European Council 2003). The ESS deemed ‘effective multilateralism’ to be one of Europe’s strategic objectives. Subsequently, numerous declarations at the EU’s highest political level – the European Council, or summits of Heads of State and Government – have reiterated the Union’s commitment to building multilateralism as an existential foreign policy objective. Arguably, one upshot is to lay to rest the argument that the ESS – agreed at the end of the year in which the invasion of Iraq seemed to deal multilateralism a fatal blow – was merely a European cri du coeur with no lasting resonance.