The issue of how to organize and implement a European security and defence ‘identity’ has been discussed at both the political and the academic level throughout the past decade. Initially, it was basically related only to NATO or, at best, to the NATO–WEU interface. As such, it did not make much progress, in spite of the commitments taken especially in Berlin (1996) and the limited decisions adopted in the WEU framework in 1997. Even at that time, the main bones of contention were the extent to which NATO ‘assets and capabilities’ would be put at the disposal of ‘European-led’ peace support operations and, as a consequence, the role and the rights of those European allies that were not full members of the WEU. With the onset of the ESDP and the de facto withering away of the WEU, the issue has become a bilateral one between the European Union and the Alliance. The controversial points have remained more or less the same, but the political and legal contexts have changed. Ever since, apparently, the main obstacle to an arrangement between the two organizations allowing the EU to have ‘assured access’ to NATO planning capabilities has been Turkey’s attitude. The article examines in detail all the problems involved, assessing the current state of affairs and drawing some conclusions for the future.