European stock markets rose on rallying bank shares and the euro gained against the dollar Monday after an upbeat German bond auction and as investors waited on a firm outcome to a Greece debt deal.
Markets, especially oil, also reacted to news that the EU had agreed to slap sanctions on Iran's oil exports.
In European midday trade, the Paris CAC 40 climbed 0.72 percent to 3,345.55 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 won 0.66 percent to 6,446.77 points and London's FTSE 100 advanced 0.80 percent to 5,774.82.
The euro rose to $1.2993 from $1.2933 on Friday in New York.
"There is a lack of economic data due out today, and so the markets are headline driven, with investors reacting to comments out of Brussels and Athens," said Joshua Raymond, chief market strategist at City Index traders.
Ahead of the EU finance ministers meeting, Germany won solid demand at a sale of one-year debt Monday, paying an ultra-low average rate that suggested investors are rushing to park cash in a safe haven in the crisis.
Europe's top economy received 5.5 billion euros ($7.1 billion) of bids for 3.0 billion euros' worth of 12-month bonds on offer.
Germany sold 2.54 billion euros, keeping back 460 million euros for later sale, according to its usual practice.
It paid an average rate of 0.07 percent, suggesting investors are prepared to earn almost nothing to hold German debt.
The strong auction was the latest in a series of positive debt sales in the crisis-wracked eurozone that has given investors cheer despite this month's downgrade of several nations' credit rating by Standard and Poor's.
Germany is one of only four eurozone countries -- the others being Finland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands -- that continue to enjoy a top triple-A rating from S&P after the downgrades.
But worries over Greece fail to go away, while a deal on restructuring the indebted country's debt now seems to rest with the European Union, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank.
The banks have said they have made their best offer on a restructuring of Greek debt.
"It was certainly the best offer that is consistent with the voluntary debt exchange," said Charles Dallara, managing director of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), which is representing banks and financial institutions owed money by Greece.
Negotiations on cutting around 100 billion euros ($129 billion) from Greece's massive debt of more 350 billion euros were adjourned Friday with both sides expressing optimism about the outcome.
At the centre of disagreement has been the interest rate on new bonds that private investors will receive as part of the debt exchange.
The IMF and Berlin want the new bonds, which will carry a face value of 50 percent of the old ones, to pay about 3.0 percent annual interest, while the IIF has proposed a rate of 4.35 percent, according to the Kathimerini daily.
Elsewhere on Monday, oil prices rose after the European Union agreed to slap an embargo against Iran's crude exports, in a move aimed at stopping the key oil producer from funding its disputed nuclear programme.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March climbed 88 cents to $110.74 a barrel in London deals after the expected move by the EU.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for March, gained 69 cents to $99.02 a barrel.