The EQ-5D questionnaire is a widely used generic instrument for describing and valuing health that was developed by the EuroQol Group. A primary objective of the EuroQol Group is the investigation of values for health states in the general population in different countries. As part of the EuroQol enterprise 11 population surveys were carried out in six Western European countries (Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK) to value health states as defined by the EQ-5D using a standardised visual analogue scale (EQ-5D VAS). This contribution reports how a European set of general population preference weights was derived from the data collected in the 11 valuation studies. The scores from this set of preference weights can be applied to generate a VAS-based weighted health status index for all the potential 243 EQ-5D health states for use in multi-national studies. To estimate the preference weights a multi-level regression analysis was performed on 82,910 valuations of 44 EQ-5D health states elicited from 6,870 respondents. Stable and plausible solutions were found for the model parameters. The R(2) value was 75%. The analysis showed that the major source of variance, apart from 'random error', was variance between individuals (28.3% of the total residual variance). These results suggest that VAS values for EQ-5D health states in six Western European countries can be described by a common model.