Many observers posit that a shift in global power has taken place the last many years, away from the West to “emerging powers”, in particular the BRICS. In contrast to this view, this paper accepts Moravcsik’s view that it has been the EU which has developed into the “second superpower”, being the only one to influence matters on a global scale besides, the US. Of particular importance in this context has been the growing attractiveness of the EU market and the considerable “soft power” which the EU exerts in some parts of the world. The paper reconstructs the most important steps of Europe’s rise, with emphasis on the “expansionist” character of the EU. Internal developments in the EU have been crucial for its growing external influence. The “expansionism” of the EU and its system has until recently been peaceful. In the case of Ukraine, however, another (regional) power has applied military force to prevent further EU expansionism. The last part of the paper deals with the Ukraine crisis.