In a recent article published in Journal of European Public Policy, Dr Kamil Zwolski of Politics & International Relations argues that there are two important norms in European Union’s (EU) external policy which in fact may be in conflict. The EU aspires to become a truly comprehensive international security actor, coherently utilising the different kinds of instruments at its disposal. To this end, Lisbon Treaty reforms aim to equip EU policy with a stronger sense of strategic direction by bringing external assistance instruments of the EU under the guidance of the High Representative. However, pursuing the norm of a more holistic, strategic international security policy has arguably threatened a key norm which contributes to the EU’s normative identity, namely the apolitical character of its aid. Kamil’s article explores the friction between these two norms in the EU’s international policy, particularly in the context of the arrangements concerning the European External Action Service. Furthermore, he argues that the gradual move towards a more strategic deployment of the EU’s external assistance is inevitable, as it reflects the strategic principles defined by the EU in the last decade.