In a recent article published in Cooperation and Conflict, Dr Kamil Zwolski of Politics & International Relations argues that a holistic approach is important when studying the EU role as an international security actor. At the same time, Kamil identifies problems in adopting such a comprehensive research agenda. The holistic approach entails that the research must include ‘new’ security problems, such as climate change, but also relevant policies and instruments outside the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). However, owing to conceptual, legal and political obstacles, this has been difficult to achieve; as a consequence, existing research on the EU as an international security actor tends to narrow down the focus to just one framework: the CSDP and its operations. This may lead to a distorted image, because the EU’s role in international security surpasses any single policy framework. In his article, Kamil sets the framework for the comprehensive research agenda concerning the EU as an international security actor. Further, he also identifies key obstacles that are making this holistic approach methodologically and conceptually difficult. In this context, the Lisbon Treaty, formally abandoning the pillar structure of the EU, provides an opportunity to mitigate at least some of these roadblocks.