Abstract In the framework of the Broader Approach Bilateral Agreement between European Union and Japan, a number of important projects of common interest for the rapid realization of fusion energy are agreed. Between these projects, the engineering validation and engineering design activities (EVEDA) phase of the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF) was included. The objective of the EVEDA phase of IFMIF is to perform reliability tests of key components and to produce a final design to be able to start IFMIF components manufacture as soon as the construction decision is taken. The main technical developments obtained in Europe during the last few years related to the IFMIF design are summarized. Based on this, the main technical issues to be solved during the EVEDA phase are also reviewed in the framework of the present scenario for IFMIF.