In October 2009, the Council of the European Union adopted the Directive on Sustainable Use of Pesticides (EU 128/2009/EC). This directive establishes a framework to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides by reducing the risk and impacts of pesticide use on both human health and the environment, and promoting the use of integrated pest management and of alternative approaches or techniques. These risks thus need to be assessed using appropriate risk indicators. The OPERA Research Centre organised an expert working group and has had several consultations with stakeholders in order to identify a common way of thinking in evaluating and identifying the factors that should be considered in selecting each indicator. Harmonised criteria have been suggested to allow the selection of the most appropriate indicators, focusing on the use phase of pesticide, as requested by the sustainable use directive. The proposed methodology has led to a sharing of perspectives and knowledge between the experts involved, and some principles have been identified to help national regulatory institutions to estimate general trends in pesticide risk reduction.