Drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis is challenging elimination of tuberculosis (TB). We evaluated risk factors for TB and levels of second-line drug resistance in M. tuberculosis in patients in Europe with multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB. A total of 380 patients with MDR TB and 376 patients with non-MDR TB were enrolled at 23 centers in 16 countries in Europe during 2010-2011. A total of 52.4% of MDR TB patients had never been treated for TB, which suggests primary transmission of MDR M. tuberculosis. At initiation of treatment for MDR TB, 59.7% of M. tuberculosis strains tested were resistant to pyrazinamide, 51.1% were resistant to ≥1 second-line drug, 26.6% were resistant to second-line injectable drugs, 17.6% were resistant to fluoroquinolones, and 6.8% were extensively drug resistant. Previous treatment for TB was the strongest risk factor for MDR TB. High levels of primary transmission and advanced resistance to second-line drugs characterize MDR TB cases in Europe.