It is well recognised that adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer have inequitable access to oncology services that provide expert cancer care and consider their unique needs. Subsequently, survival gains in this patient population have improved only modestly compared with older adults and children with cancer. In 2015, the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE) established the joint Cancer in AYA Working Group in order to increase awareness among adult and paediatric oncology communities, enhance knowledge on specific issues in AYA and ultimately improve the standard of care for AYA with cancer across Europe. This manuscript reflects the position of this working group regarding current AYA cancer care, the challenges to be addressed and possible solutions. Key challenges include the lack of specific biological understanding of AYA cancers, the lack of access to specialised centres with age-appropriate multidisciplinary care and the lack of available clinical trials with novel therapeutics. Key recommendations include diversifying interprofessional cooperation in AYA care and specific measures to improve trial accrual, including centralising care where that is the best means to achieve trial accrual. This defines a common vision that can lead to improved outcomes for AYA with cancer in Europe.