With the European Commission making global leadership claims in the field of audit regulation, the content of its 2010 Green Paper on 'Audit Policy: Lessons from the Crisis' warrants careful scrutiny. Important issues raised in the Green Paper include regulatory oversight, competition in the audit market, the dangers of having very few firms with the capacity to audit global transnational corporations, professional judgement, innovative audit practices and, last but not least, social responsibility. This article analyses the principal perspectives and assumptions underpinning the construction of the Green Paper. The aims are threefold: to enhance understanding of the contemporary regulatory mindset of the European Commission, contribute to policy debate and inspire future research. © 2011 European Accounting Association.