Leading long term considerations for choices in the European Long Term Technology programme are the high temperature mechanical- and compatibility properties of structural materials under neutron irradiation. The degrees of fabrication process freedom are closely investigated to allow the construction of complex shapes. Another important consideration is the activation behaviour of the structural material. The ideal solution is the recycling of the structural materials after a relatively short 'cooling' period. The structural materials development in Europe has three streams. The first serves the design and construction of ITER and is closely connected to the choice made: water cooled austenitic stainless steel. The second development stream is to support the design and construction of DEMO relevant blanket modules to be tested in ITER. The helium cooled pebble bed and the water cooled liquid lithium concept rely both on RAFM steel. The goal of the third stream is to investigate the potential of advanced materials for fusion power reactors beyond DEMO. The major contending materials: SiCSiC composites, vanadium, titanium and chromium alloys hold the promise of high operating temperatures, but RAFM has also a high temperature potential applying oxide dispersion strengthening. The development of materials for fusion power application requires a high flux 14MeV neutron source to simulate the fusion power environment. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved.