The EU CBRN Centres of Excellence Initiative is the main scheme for mitigating chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats and risks from outside the EU. Although these risks are low, there are signs that they are on the rise and, if they were to materialise, their impact on the global health, environment and economy could be high. This Initiative aims to strengthen partner countries’ capabilities through capacity-building projects and a network for cooperation. We examined whether the EU CBRN Initiative had mitigated the CBRN threat, concluding that it did but that many challenges remain. We make a number of recommendations for improving the Initiative.