The EU has been making strong inroads into the realm of security over the last few years. This is a remarkable development since security matters used to be the preserve of states. The EU has generally been considered a rather weak security actor. However, it is necessary to remember that any assessment of the EU's role in international security is always underpinned by a specific understanding of security, although this may often be left implicit. This special issue - and, indeed, the European Security and Supranational Governance Conference and the whole EUSIM project - are based on a broad understanding of security. We consider that security concerns are increasingly triggered by challenges such as terrorism, climate change, mass migration flows and many other 'non-traditional' security issues. The articles presented in this special issue all testify to the breadth of the EU security agenda as they all try to capture some aspects of the EU's fast changing security policies following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009. There are several common themes stemming from a combined reading of the various articles gathered in this special issue. One of the themes that emerges particularly strongly from the various analyses is the existence of a complex relationship between values and security at the heart of several EU policies, particularly in relation to its neighbourhood. As emphasized by the various contributors to this special issue, it appears that the EU has sought to simultaneously pursue its security objectives and spread its values, such as democracy, rule of law and human rights, by encouraging reforms in its neighbourhood. However, it is increasingly evident that there are tensions, and perhaps even contradictions, between these two objectives. We argue in this introduction that it is only one of the challenges faced by the EU that can be illuminated and better understood by considering another strand of literature with which there has been little engagement in EU studies to date - the literature on human security.