The EU has often presented itself as a crisis manager whose approach is based on conflict sensitivity and comprehensive approach to crises. The innovations introduced in 2013 by the EEAS Review and the revision of the crisis management procedures have recently come to a hard test in different sectors of the EU neighbourhood: that is, in Libya and Ukraine. This paper examines the crisis response patterns developed by the EU in relation to these two conflicts, by comparing and contrasting the peacebuilding frameworks that are conveyed by EU’s discourses, policies and practices. The analysis builds on the extensive desk review of strategic documents and action plans, as well as interviews with key EU officers involved in policy design and implementation. Specific attention is devoted to EU’s changing definitions of the two crises, along with shifting approaches (realism-inspired crisis management, liberal peace-building, post-colonial “local-turn”) and moving referent objects, including conventional military threat, energy supply, arms smuggling, terrorism, organized crime and migrations. By examining the actions undertaken by key EU actors throughout the different stages of the conflict we shed light on the combination of interests and norms that underlie the final response outcome.