The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index finished the session provisionally up 0.2 percent at 1,321.50 points. The Spanish IBEX, Italian FTSE MIB and German Dax closed narrowly higher, while the U.K. FTSE and French Cac closed slightly lower.
European banks were hit by a ruling overnight from the U.S. Federal Reserve that blocked some banks' programs for higher dividends and share buybacks. The Federal Reserve rejected Citigroup's plans to buy back $6.4 billion of shares, arguing that the bank was not prepared to handle a potential crisis.
Shares in RBS finished European trade around 1.5 lower, and HSBC lost just over 0.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced a $14-18 billion bailout for Ukraine on Thursday morning, which will usher in a new era for the post-Soviet economy. The IMF's Mission Chief Nikolay Gueorguiev announced that the bailout will use a "stand-by arrangement."
(Read more: Russia growth seen down—and it's not just Crimea)
UK retail sales beat
Retail sales for the U.K. surprised on the upside on Thursday, with a month-on-month rise of 1.7 percent, against expectations of a 0.5 percent rise. The yearly figure was also way ahead of analysts' predictions, reading 3.7 percent.
"U.K. retail sales data smashed investor expectations this morning, largely as a result of better sales in both food and non-food stores," Alex Edwards, head of the corporate desk at UKForex, said in research note.
"This shows consumers on the high street are feeling more confident about the U.K.'s recovery."