This paper offers a critical interpretation of the EU’s recent Maritime Security Strategy (MSS) of 2014, making distinctions between hard and soft conceptions of maritime security. The theoretical
approach employed invokes the ‘EU as neo-medieval empire’ (Bull 1977: 254-255; Rennger 2006; Zielonka 2006). By this account, the main objectives of EU maritime strategy are stability and
encouragement of globalised maritime trade flows to be achieved using the classic instruments of ‘soft maritime security’. While replete with great possibilities, the EU’s maritime security strategy is likely to be a relatively weak maritime security regime, which suffers from a number of important limits.