The European Union’s role on the international scene is not easy to understand. The rule of unanimity and the complexity of its institutional mechanisms have kept the EU from imposing itself on the international scene with a clearly defined role. The result is a rather blurred positioning, where the Union appears and disappears according to the various crisis, the context, the mood of the European Council’s members. The recent wars in Georgia and Gaza are the latest examples. Faced with an emergency, the Union does not seem capable of diplomatic action - this was paradoxically demonstrated by the prompt intervention of the French Presidency in Georgia. This does not mean that the EU is absent from the international arena. After the diplomatic turmoil which regularly happens in major international crisis, the EU discretely reappears, notably through various instruments whose impact is above all long term.
Key words : European Union, CSEP, SDEP, Gaza, Georgia, cooperation.