Pan-European surveillance of bacteraemia caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) shows it to be a problem affecting all European countries, although there is marked geographical variation in prevalence. Although the proportion of S. aureus bacteraemia due to MRSA is declining in many countries, data from the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (EARSS) for 2008 showed that in more than one-third of countries the proportion remained >25%. In contrast to bacteraemia, community-associated MRSA infection in Europe remains relatively uncommon. However, there appears to be an increasing problem involving transmission of MRSA (particularly sequence type 398) from colonized livestock, particularly pigs, to farm workers, abattoir workers and veterinarians who are in contact with such animals. Molecular analysis of isolates of MRSA has shown that there has been spread of only a limited number of MRSA clones in Europe and that many of these clones show geographical clustering due to dissemination through regional healthcare networks. Despite our increasing understanding of the epidemiology of MRSA in Europe, MRSA infections continue to pose a significant public health challenge.