European shares and the euro held steady in nervous trade on Tuesday, the eve of a second vital EU summit that will deliver a long-awaited plan to resolve the eurozone's stubborn sovereign debt crisis.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.33 percent to 5,566.41 points in late morning deals, Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.44 percent to 6,081.89 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 fell 0.42 percent to 3,207.17.
The Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone companies lost 0.22 percent to 2,364.23 points.
In the foreign exchange market, the European single currency was flat at $1.3930, unchanged from late on Monday in New York.
Officials are making final preparations for a make-or-break summit in Brussels on Wednesday, after European leaders promised to deliver a comprehensive plan to resolve the festering crisis.
Ahead of the summit, Europe scrambled on Tuesday to convince banks to take massive losses on Greece's debt and shield Italy from falling victim to the region's crisis.
"The EU will reveal, in all its full glory, the plan to resolve southern Europe's debt crisis," said Mark Deans, dealing manager at London-based currency specialists MoneyCorp.
"Until then, those with cash to invest are inclined to bide their time," he added.
"If EU leaders get it right, that cash will go into equities, commodities and their related currencies. If they get it wrong the money will go into ... safe-havens."
Attention remains fixed on Europe, where debt crises in Greece, Italy and Spain have raised concerns that at least one of them could default on their repayments, leading to a credit crunch and possibly another global meltdown.
European leaders, who held debt talks on Sunday, appeared to make progress in their efforts to fix the continent's economic problems and put the final touches to a deal on Wednesday.
They announced few details at the weekend, but promised instead to reveal all after a second round of top-level talks.
The eurozone wants to beef up its 440-billion-euro ($610 billion) rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, to convince markets it has the means to protect highly indebted nations.
Leaders also want to agree on a huge write-down on the debt of stricken Greece and make sure banks have enough firepower to withstand these losses.
Despite the Europeans' progress, there are concerns they might not be able to do enough because of their many differences.
"Tomorrow is the first major hurdle for the markets in seeing credible and concrete plans from EU policymakers," said VTB Capital economist Neil MacKinnon.
"There is the risk that EU plans are considered only sufficient to buy time, rather than being the masterplan which fully resolves the crisis."
Investors want to see the recent assurances turned into a definitive and binding agreement.
Chancellor Angela Merkel meanwhile needs an approval of Germany's parliament before she can back a plan to boost the bailout fund at the summit.
Investors meanwhile set aside a barrage of European company results, from the likes of British oil major BP, Germany's top lender Deutsche Bank, Dutch telecoms operator KPN and Swiss banking giant UBS.
"Earnings are being pushed to the back of the mind as we approach what will be a key Eurozone decision," noted Owen Ireland, broker at Valbury Capital.
He added: "Investors will be biting their nails in anticipation of what, for the good of global economic health, needs to be a spectacularly well-considered set of measures."