Aim To describe and classify contemporary organisational developments in primary care across Europe. MethodTen case studies have been undertaken at local sites which are exemplars of organisational practice nominated by national leaders and international experts. The selection is informed by a comprehensive literature and documentary review, with expert advice from members of the European Forum for Primary Care. ResultsA profile of organisational development trends is indicated, confirming the status of the extended general practice, the growth in managed care enterprises and the omission of service models prominent in other continents. ConclusionThe risks as well as the opportunities arising from the enlargement of Europe, with its vulnerable polyclinic and medical cabinet models, are highlighted, with further discussion and analysis to follow in Part 2 of the position paper.