Since the European Union (EU) moved beyond the internal politics of its Member States, and started addressing international issues via its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), there has been a fundamental debate whether this activity could be considered as the EU foreign policy. Today, with the EU's wide range-ranging global involvement and its increased capabilities, there is little doubt that the EU has a clear foreign policy.
This raises the questions what kind of power the EU really is and how it is perceived by other actors in the international arena. With the US' civilian, military and normative abilities, seriously challenged after its ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, all eyes are now on Europe, waiting for it to start playing a stronger role in international affairs. This paper will apply the concepts of civilian, military and normative power to the EU, in order to asses which of the three describes the EU best. In addition, it will analyse the capabilities associated with these concepts to evaluate the EU's ability to make an impact on the world stage. Concluding, the essay will argue that the EU can only be perceived as an actor which embodies all three concepts. Therefore the EU should be considered a 'Quiet superpower' in the making.