How useful is the concept of strategic culture for understanding when, where and how the European Union uses force? This paper will assess the extent to which agreement among the European Union Member States to conduct Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations is founded on a top-down approach based on a common strategic culture or alternatively on a bottom-up approach. In the latter case, a decision to deploy troops is based on specific Member States' interests and capabilities. Four military operations will be analysed: Operation EUFOR Althea, EUFOR RD Congo, EUFOR TChad/RCA and Operation Atalanta. Emphasis is placed on whether there has been any form of decision-making based on shared beliefs, attitudes and norms regarding the use of force. The aim is to highlight whether there has been increasing convergence behind the reasoning for the deployment of European Union operations which indicates the extent to which the organisation possesses a European strategic culture.