Europe’s two crises – the Georgia-Russia war of August and the ongoing global financial and economic crisis – point to huge challenges for the organisation and policies of the European Union. The present paper concentrates on the risks that the crises represent for one of the EU’s prime objective, to achieve a civilized wider European order. At least the current episodes show that with leadership the EU can act fast in both diplomacy and finance. But the next question is how to follow through, beyond a passing moment of an effective six-month presidency of the EU. This is the subject of the present note, which advocates a comprehensive upgrading of the EU’s policies in the wider European area, and contributes ideas for the revision of the European Security Strategy currently being prepared. The aim would be to strengthen EU policies towards South-East Europe, East Europe and Central Asia, and defuse the current confrontation between a normative Europe and an aggressive Russian realpolitik; better still Russia might, after reflecting on what the two crises mean for its fundamental interests, conclude that the time had come for a more genuinely cooperative understanding with the EU.