Many portrayals of the European Union (EU) as an international actor are based on selective appraisals of its external activity or restraint. This article explores the concept of a pragmatic power EUrope. It considers pragmatism as an academic approach or philosophy, and as an attitude or method of political practice. It then aims to generate interaction between these understandings by applying them to important contemporary 'partnerships' for the EU: Russia and China. These examples reveal the EU as a composite rather than unified actor, with the pragmatism of individual components undermining a more influential collective power.