It is considered highly desirable that a CEN standard be published giving methods for assessing structural integrity. This will bring advantages to European industry in terms of structural safety and reduced costs arising from unnecessary rectification work. It also has a direct bearing on the Pressure Equipment Directive and other future directives for welded equipment. Such a standard will be based on fracture mechanics. However, a variety of fracture mechanics methods are used throughout Europe and, before a standard can be published, it will be necessary to reach a consensus optimising the advantages of the various methods. The current proposal is for the exploratory phase for a Thematic Network. The deliverables from this exploratory phase will be, a statement of the feasibility of establishing a network, a proposal for its formation (if considered feasible), inventories of standardisation initiatives and research in member states, a list of participants and a method for collaborating with two proposed European research initiatives.