In the EU’s declaratory policy, the EU-UN relationship is presented as a ‘natural partnership’, as a part of the ‘added value’ that the EU brings to the UN. However, the reality is more complex. Closer analysis reveals UN rhetoric in ‘European crisis management’, mainly in its military aspects. It would therefore appear that the legitimising of Europe’s defence dimension has in large part benefited from UN impetus in a context where the use of military force was not taken for granted—was even something of a taboo subject—within the architecture of European security. This leads us to question the nature of Europe’s emerging defence dimension.