One of the aims derived from the EUGS is to develop a more strategic approach to third-country partnerships in the realm of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). This reflects the necessity of updating existing arrangements with a view to the EU’s broadening comprehensive approach, defence related innovations and Brexit. Discussions are on going, but the Brexit negotiations provide some insight into the meaning and limitations of this strategic upgrade. They illustrate the EU’s red lines and the fact that its openness continues to vary depending on the CSDP sub area. The real meaning of this more strategic approach remains to be spelled out, and its merit can only be judged based on its implementation.