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The European Academy of Anaesthesiology was founded in 1978 as a means of meeting the challenges resulting from the introduction of the Medical Directives permitting the free movement of doctors within the European Community. The Academy is a scientific forum for anaesthetists throughout Europe--not just the EC countries--and has established its own English-language journal and multi-lingual Diploma examination. It is now embarking on a system of hospital recognition linked to intraining examinations. With the help of industry and a professional communications organization, it is also exploring the production of multi-lingual educational packages. It is believed that for effective evolution of hospital practice in Europe, medical specialties need to have their own academic organizations which will develop specialist training and which are in a position to provide appropriate advice to relevant national and European bodies.