Europe's main stock markets fell at the start of trading on Tuesday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies down 0.49 percent to 5,791.75 points.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.66 percent to 7,278.13 points and in Paris the CAC 40 dropped 0.95 percent in value to stand at 3,402.41.
The eurozone crisis continues to cast a pall as dealers await a decision from Spain on asking for a bailout to prop up its struggling economy, traders said.
While Madrid unveiled a tough austerity budget last week that many expect to have been a precursor to a rescue request the country's prime minister has so far held off until he knows the full conditions that would be imposed.
Adding to concerns, ratings agency Moody's warned it might downgrade the country's debt to junk status when it makes a decision on the country within the next few days.