Italy's government scrambled to salvage Air France-KLM's collapsed deal to buy Alitalia on Thursday, promising to keep the airline flying despite a looming cash crisis.
Euro zone retail sales turned out much weaker than expected in February, contracting on the back of falls in Germany and Spain and reinforcing concerns about the outlook for economic growth.
Euro zone services growth slowed further last month as the credit crunch tightened its grip, while price pressures hit a 9-month high, according to final data from a survey of businesses published on Thursday.
Jerome Kerviel, at the center of a rogue trading scandal at French bank Societe Generale, has not launched any legal action against his past employer for now, a lawyer representing the former trader said.
Air France-KLM has abandoned talks with Alitalia's unions after refusing to accept their demands, a union source said.
The $19 billlion writedown at UBS has cheered some investors who think that the worst of the credit crunch is now over. But the European Central Bank still faces the prospect of falling growth and rising prices.
Sodexo, the French food and facilities management services group, said on Wednesday fiscal first-half sales rose 9.2 percent on an underlying basis.
France's Pernod Ricard won a hotly contested auction on Monday to buy the maker of Sweden's Absolut vodka for 5.63 billion euro ($8.87 billion), beating favourite Jim Beam bourbon-maker Fortune Brands.
A look at the data and happenings that shaped the first quarter for European businesses and markets.
After a dismal first quarter, investors look forward to what the spring has in store; but apart from a new gold rush and the euro rising further, there seems to be little to anticipate.
European stocks closed slightly lower Friday, as hopes for a near-term interest rate cut from the European Central Bank diminished on signs of growing inflation pressures in the euro zone.
Alitalia's unions in a joint statement on Friday sharply criticised Air France-KLM's modified plan on job cuts, but said they planned to attend a Monday meeting with the two carriers' management.
Euro zone price pressures are "alarmingly high," threatening medium-term price stability, and first quarter growth in the bloc could exceed expectations, European Central Bank officials said on Friday.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called on Thursday for banks to declare the full extent of the damage to their operations caused by the credit crunch.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will ask British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for help in getting Washington to prop up the ailing dollar, but Britain has usually shunned managing exchange rates.
Alitalia's board will discuss extending talks with unions on its takeover by Air France-KLM, a company source said, as the French carrier's promise to soften the blow on workers met with approval from major unions.
Air France-KLM offered to continue talks with unions on its deal to buy Alitalia beyond a March 31 deadline and promised a new plan on job cuts, a union official said, signaling its first concessions in talks so far.
Stricken German lender IKB got another $700 million of taxpayers' cash to bolster itself amid more subprime writedowns, exasperating politicians who said it should get no more state help.
The European Central Bank lent euro zone banks an extra 15 billion euros on Thursday to tide them over the Easter holiday period, although banks bid for four times as much.
China's Ping An Insurance Co deepened its ties with Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis on Wednesday by buying half its asset management business for 2.15 billion euros ($3.4 billion).