Despite the increasing attention on patient mobility, there remains a lack of European-level interest in assuring the sustained competence of health professionals. Specifically, the existing European legal framework fails to recognise the introduction of periodic revalidation and requirements to participate in continuing professional development in some countries. This study shows that the definitions and mechanisms of revalidation vary significantly across member states. While some countries, eg Austria, Germany and Spain, look to continuing medical education as a means to promote recertification and quality of care, other countries, eg Belgium, France and the Netherlands, also incorporate peer review. In the UK the proposed revalidation scheme would include elements of relicensure through appraisal and feedback as well as physician recertification. Divergence between countries also exists in monitoring and enforcement. The European Commission should explore the implications for professional mobility of the diversity in the regulation of the medical profession.