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BRUSSELS European Union finance ministers agreed on Thursday to make the European Central Bank the chief supervisor for banks in the euro zone, a move designed to underpin the currency and its financial system. Here are the main elements as well as what must come next: (Reporting by John O’Donnell, Robin Emmott, Huw Jones, and Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

LOS ANGELES European Union financial ministers struck an agreement early Thursday to move the bloc closer to banking union by bringing the region’s largest lenders under a single supervisory authorities, reports from the region said. Under the deal announced after midnight, the European Central Bank will be given oversight over all banks with either more than 30 billion euros ($ 39 billion) in assets or which have a large presence within a member economy, the Associated Press reported. The agreement followed more than 14 hours of talks — and months of discussion after the idea was first broached — with [...]

LONDON European shares hit an 18-month high and the euro and euro zone periphery bonds climbed on Tuesday, buoyed by a pick-up in German confidence indicators and expectations the Federal Reserve will keep pumping money into the U.S. economy. Following some disappointing euro zone data this month, the ZEW survey provided some relief for markets, showing confidence among German investors and economists increased sharply in November. Markets had been rattled on Monday by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s announcement he would step down some weeks early. But the upbeat ZEW data helped lift shares and the euro from their gloom. [...]

MADRID European stock markets opened slightly higher on Monday after a closely watched indicator of China manufacturing activity confirmed expansion in November. Continued fiscal cliff worries are keeping gains in check, though, and investors are also bracing for European manufacturing data. The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.2% to 276.16, with shares of Cable & Wireless Communications PLC jumping nearly 7% after the company sold the majority of its Monaco & Islands unit for $ 680 million in cash. The German DAX 30 index rose 0.2% to 7,421.77, while the French CAC 40 index rose 0.2% to 3,564.27. The FTSE [...]

MADRID European stock markets opened higher on Thursday, following on the heels of a prior-day gains for Wall Street after optimistic comments from President Barack Obama and others about reaching a deal over the fiscal cliff. Asia stocks also rose and U.S. stock futures pointed to another day of gains. The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.4% to 274.33, led by the banking sector with Banco Santander SA up 1.1% and BNP Paribas SA rose 1%. The German DAX 30 index rose 0.5% to 7,381.61, the French CAC 40 index rose 0.6% to 3,536.19 and the FTSE 100 index rose [...]

Marmaray tunnel project in Istanbul will be first railway connection between Europe and AsiaThe 76-kilometer route will ease commuter traffic on Istanbul’s roads and straitTunnel construction has been delayed by discovery of ancient artifactsSeismic activity also a consideration for contractors who have fitted “flexible joints” in the tunnel The Gateway goes behind the scenes of the world’s major transport hubs, revealing the logistics that keep goods and people moving. This month, the show is in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul, Turkey — As a city that sits astride two continents, Istanbul has always been a strategic gateway between the East and West. [...]

MADRID European stock markets opened mildly lower on Tuesday, driven by losses for banks after Moody’s Investors Service stripped France of its triple-A debt rating, lowering it by one notch. Investors will be keeping an eye on the European Union finance ministers meeting along with a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke later. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.3% to 267.91, led by a more than 1% drop for HSBC Holdings PLC . The French CAC 40 index fell 0.4% to 3,426.58, the German DAX 30 index lost 0.2% to 7,110.89 and the FTSE 100 index fell 0.4% [...]

French Foreign Minister Pierre Moscovici pictured in Paris on May 17.Finance minister rejects concern that France could become the next focus of the eurozone crisis”France is not the sick man of Europe. France remains the world’s fifth largest economic power”(Financial Times) — France’s socialist government seized on better than expected economic growth figures to reject concern that France could become the next focus of the eurozone crisis, insisting it is acting to reform the flagging economy.”France is not the sick man of Europe. France remains the world’s fifth largest economic power that has all its resources but which needs to [...]

Workers angry over spending cuts and tax rises protest in a coordinated day of action.General strikes in Spain and Portugal, significant walkouts in Greece and ItalyTransport disrupted: hundreds of flights grounded; severe reductions in rail servicesProtesters say the cuts will compromise livelihoods and increase unemploymentEditor’s note: What’s your view of the eurozone financial crisis? Share your thoughts A wave of anger over austerity is sweeping across Europe as workers fed up with government spending cuts and tax rises take to the streets in a coordinated day of action.General strikes are under way in Spain and Portugal, and there are significant [...]

MADRID European stock markets opened lower on Tuesday, tracking losses in Asia as shares of heavyweight Vodafone Group PLC tumbled over 3% after it swung to a loss. Worries over Greece and the U.S. fiscal cliff also weighed on sentiment, with losses building for U.S. stock futures. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.4% to 266.36, with utilities also weighing heavily as E.ON AG slid nearly 8% after also swinging to a loss. The German DAX 30 index fell 0.6% to 7,125.91, the French CAC 40 index fell 0.6% to 3,392.83 and the FTSE 100 index lost 0.5% to trade [...]

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