To what extent is the European Union exercising global regulatory power? This paper investigates this question through a comparative study of two significant global policy fields: data-protection and banking with a special focus on the preferences and choice of policy instruments. Of particular concern are the implications of the still present financial and economic crisis for global regulatory power. Both cases suggest that the actual role of the EU is more complex than either exercising or subject to global regulatory power. This concerns the relationship between the EU and the member states, but indeed the internal relationship between various EU institutions.