The results of the Diabetes Literacy project show that there is a window of opportunity to empower patients to take up diabetes self-management. Education for self-management is a crucial success factor. The project provides evidence that education during the initial stages of diabetes is effective in changing patients’ self-management behaviour, also amongst people with low health literacy. It is possible to develop IT-based programmes that engage people with low health literacy while remaining acceptable for people with higher health literacy levels. Too many diabetes patients in Europe do not receive self-management education. Policymakers are called upon to invest in making DSME programmes available and accessible for all diabetes patients in Europe.