Since 2004, when the European neighbourhood policy was established, the European Union has already spent billions of euros to finance the new neighbourhood policies for creating more stable and more cooperative relations with eastern and southern neighbours. However, increased security concerns and challenges, less stable and less prognostic relations seem to have produced the opposite result of what was sought, and so Europe is experiencing a “neighbourhood of crisis”. Did it fail? What strategy has the EU been using within the last 15 years in relations with its neighbouring countries? What specific tools and instruments have been adapted? Did the renewal of European neighbourhood policy introduce any completely new strategic elements? This article examines these questions, focusing on three perspectives suggested by role theory: intentional, interactional and institutional. The study applies qualitative research methodology and claims that the EU has been seeking to transmit not just EU values and standards but also internal institutional practices and modes of EU governance.