Recent studies have placed the focus on the so-called ideational construction of a multi-level European security apparatus, in which both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) play significant roles as the two main security organizations in Europe. In particular, many authors have attempted to explain how NATO and the EU can complement or want to complement each other within the European security framework, forming what is known as a European security culture. This article intends to make three contributions to this debate. First, it aims to conceptualize and operationalize security culture as a translation process. Second, it attempts to consolidate the European security culture debate within a reflexivist, discursive approach to the study of security. Finally, it highlights the importance of (smaller) member states in the consolidation (and understanding) of this security culture by focusing on the Portuguese example.