The EU sustainable development strategy, launched by the European Council in Gothenburg in 2001 and renewed in June 2006, aims for the continuous improvement of quality of life for current and future generations. The Eurostat monitoring report, to be published every two years, underpins the European Commission's progress report on the implementation of the strategy. It provides an objective, statistical picture of progress, based on the EU set of sustainable development indicators. Quantitative rules applied consistently across indicators, and visualised through weather symbols, provide a relative assessment of whether Europe is moving in the right direction, and with sufficient haste, given the objectives and targets defined in the strategy. The data presented cover the period from 1990 to 2006 (or the latest year available). The statistics covered illustrate the range of issues relevant for sustainable development, and should contribute to raising awareness of the opportunities and challenges lying ahead.