This article examines Taylor’s approach to the conception of civil society and attempts to interpret the relation of this approach to contemporary debates on the forming of European civil society. By way of introduction, Taylor’s interpretation of the medieval socio-political assumptions for the creation of the extra-political public sphere is presented. Next, there is a discussion of Taylor’s interpretational conception of the two most significant traditions of civil society which take their rise from a confrontation with European enlightenment absolutism - the traditions of Locke and Montesquieu. The author attempts to make sense of the way in which Taylor’s approach resonates with the concept of civil society in discussions about the presuppositions and forms of the creation of the European public sphere and trans-national (European) identities as two key forms of European civil society. In conclusion, the concept of the active border is presented as a key matrix of the conceptual constellation of the public sphere, identity and Europeanisation.