The European Union (EU) is frequently criticised for lacking substantive military capabilities and thus not being able to conduct an effective security policy. The objective of this article is to challenge the underlying assumptions of this critique in light of the features of contemporary security problems and the ‘demands’ they pose to effective security policy. Firstly, the article points towards some conceptual fallacies that these assumptions tend to be based on. Secondly, it presents an exemplary empirical exploration of the EU’s emerging potential to address what has been termed the ‘Political Economy of Conflicts’. Finally, the article suggests that the distinct characteristics of today’s security challenges might indeed constitute a ‘window of opportunity’ for the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) to further evolve as a prominent actor in world politics.