Based on data collected by the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net) and the former EARSS, the present study describes the trends in antimicrobial susceptibility patterns and occurrence of invasive infections caused by Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus in the period from 2002 to 2009. Antimicrobial susceptibility results from 198 laboratories in 22 European countries reporting continuously on these two microorganisms during the entire study period were included in the analysis. The number of bloodstream infections caused by E. coli increased remarkably by 71% during the study period, while bloodstream infections caused by S. aureus increased by 34%. At the same time, an alarming increase of antimicrobial resistance in E. coli was observed, whereas for S. aureus the proportion of meticillin resistant isolates decreased. The observed trend suggests an increasing burden of disease caused by E. coli. The reduction in the proportion of meticillin-resistant S. aureus and the lesser increase in S. aureus infections, compared with E. coli, may reflect the success of infection control measures at hospital level in several European countries.