By articulating discourse theory to build on the concepts of 'strategic culture', 'security culture' and 'grand strategy', we argue that the European Union has adopted a 'global power' approach since approximately 1999, having been previously constituted as a 'civilian power' since the 1970s. We suggest this paradigmatic shift was influenced by a growing discourse coalition of 'euro-strategists', which mobilized to prevent another European foreign policy failure like the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. While this project remains in its infancy, it has already led to the articulation and institutionalization of a new vision of security within the enlarged European community. Indeed, we contend that the continued expansion of this 'global power' approach is likely to have profound implications for the future of European integration, potentially leading to a deeper and more tightly unified European geopolitical space. Copyright (c) 2009 The Author(s). Journal compilation (c) 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.