This article investigates decision makers' strategic use of European integration and globalisation discourses to justify and coordinate national sector reforms. This is done using the example of banking sector reforms in two small European Union (EU) member states, Ireland and Denmark. Two key arguments are put forward: (1) National governments' ability to make credible claims about their ability to influence the direction of European integration is crucial in enabling them to justify sector reforms. Thus, as a full member of the European Monetary Union (EMU), Irish decision makers are able to make credible claims about their influence on European financial integration, an option not available to Danish decision makers since Denmark is not a Eurozone member; (2) Globalisation comprises a particularly compelling set of discourses which enables decision makers to carry through sector reforms in line with European integration measures, even in the absence of national commitment to the latter. Discourses of globalisation have thus become ‘the last resort’ for Danish decision makers in justifying and coordinating reforms that are in line with EU regulations and recommendations.