This article argues that the current crisis from which the EU is suffering is a result of both economic factors and political ones, and that the two factors feed off each other mutually. As a supranational body, the EU should not replace national or local levels of governance, instead it should protect the democracy that exists at those levels. Beyond its internal problems, the EU has enormous potential as a cosmopolitan model capable of inspiring new global institutions. More specifically, the article analyses the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), which differs from other common security strategies (which place the emphasis on borders and military questions) by the fact that it sets as its objective the defence of human security –a broader, more legitimate concept with regard to European citizens. It is, therefore, not only an instrument of external influence, but also an internal legitimising element that can bring together citizens and the artificers of “high policy”, thereby strengthening democracy within the Union itself.