In Europe, colorectal cancer is the most common newly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths, accounting for approximately 436,000 incident cases and 212,000 deaths in 2008. The potential of high-quality screening to improve control of the disease has been recognized by the Council of the European Union who issued a recommendation on cancer screening in 2003. Multidisciplinary, evidence-based European Guidelines for quality assurance in colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis have recently been developed by experts in a pan-European project coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The full guideline document consists of ten chapters and an extensive evidence base. The content of the chapter dealing with pathology in colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis is presented here in order to promote international discussion and collaboration leading to improvements in colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis by making the principles and standards recommended in the new EU Guidelines known to a wider scientific community.