Like it or not, the European Union, in the wake of Lisbon, has become an international actor. It now faces two major external challenges. The first is to develop a strategic vision for a potentially tumultuous emerging multi-polar world. The European Council's December 2008 ‘Report on the Implementation of the European Security Strategy’ recognized that, over the last five years, the threats facing the EU had become ‘increasingly complex’, that ‘we must be ready to shape events [by] becoming more strategic in our thinking’. The second challenge is to help nudge the other major actors towards a multilateral global grand bargain. Such a bargain will be the necessary outcome of the transition from a US-dominated post-1945 liberal world order, towards a new 21st-century order accommodating the rising powers and sensitive to the needs of the global south. Without such a comprehensive and co-operative bargain, the emerging multi-polar world will be rife with tensions and highly conflict-prone.