Asthma management guidelines provide recommendations for the optimum control of asthma. This survey assessed the current levels of asthma control as reported by patients, which partly reflect the extent to which guideline recommendations are implemented. Current asthma patients were identified by telephone by screening 73,880 households in seven European countries. Designated respondents were interviewed on healthcare utilization, symptom severity, activity limitations and asthma control. Current asthma patients were identified in 3,488 households, and 2,803 patients (80.4%) completed the survey. Forty-six per cent of patients reported daytime symptoms and 30% reported asthma-related sleep disturbances, at least once a week. In the past 12 months, 25% of patients reported an unscheduled urgent care visit, 10% reported one or more emergency room visits and 7% reported overnight hospitalization due to asthma. In the past 4 weeks, more patients had used prescription quick-relief medication (63%) than inhaled corticosteroids (23%). Patient perception of asthma control did not match their symptom severity; approximately 50% of patients reporting severe persistent symptoms also considered their asthma to be completely or well controlled. The current level of asthma control in Europe falls far short of the goals for long-term asthma management. Patients' perception of asthma control is different from their actual asthma control.