There are many different systems of cytology classification used in the member states of the European Union (EU) and many different languages. The following short annexe to Chapter 3 of the European Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Cervical Cancer Screening provides a framework that will allow different terminologies and languages to be translated into standard terminology based on the Bethesda system (TBS) for cytology while retaining the cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) classification for histology. This approach has followed extensive consultation with representatives of many countries and professional groups as well as a discussion forum published in Cytopathology (2005;16:113). This article will describe the reporting of specimen adequacy, which is dealt with in more detail elsewhere in Chapter 3 of the guidelines, the optional general categorization recommended in TBS, the interpretation/cytology result and other comments that may be made on reports such as concurrent human papillomavirus testing and the use of automation review and recommendations for management. The main categories in TBS will be described in the context of CIN, dyskaryosis and dysplasia terminologies so that all may be translated into the same framework. These guidelines should allow European countries to adapt their terminology in such a way as to make their screening programmes comparable with each other as well as with programmes elsewhere in the world.