Stocks are holding lower after North Korea fired what was being described as an "unidentified missile" over Japan with traders waiting on the response from the international community.
Acting as a backdrop, in the run-up to the Labor Day weekend in the States traders had been waiting on news of US tax and French labour market reform plans later in the week, amid still holiday-thinned trading volumes.
Further denting stocks on the Continent, the euro was higher by 0.67% to 1.2059 against the US dollar
- its highest level since 2015.
At 1215 BST, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was losing 1.28% or 4.75 points to 367.55, alongside a drop of 1.68% or 203.65 points to 11,920.14, while the Cac-40 was down by 1.26% or 63.42 points at 5,016.45.
In parallel, gold futures for December expiry shot up by 1.12% to $1,330.20/oz.. on COMEX as the greenback fell by 0.63% against the Japanese yen to 108.57, which is traditionally seen as a safe haven currency. Meanwhile, the VStoxx index measuring volatility on the Euro
Stoxx 50 was 12.65% higher at 17.86.
Reacting to Pyongang's latest missile test, US president Donald Trump reportedly said that "all options are on the table".
The world "has received North Korea's latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbours, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behaviour".
A spokesman for Beijing also weighed in, reportedly reiterating previous calls for the North to suspend its missile tests in return for a cessation of the joint US-South Korean exercises.
For its part, Japan called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
Commenting on the market backdrop, Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said: "Equities are firmly in the red after North Korea delivered its biggest provocation in two decades by firing a ballistic missile over Japan, adding fuel to the fires of geopolitical uncertainty.
"The rush for safe havens and ditching of the USD is resulting in more unwelcome GBP
and EUR strength, hurting the FTSE and DAX, while the US and oil markets deal with the effects of Hurricane Harvey."
Echoing van Dulken, Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, added: "The missile launch comes as no surprise given proximity to the annual military exercises between the US and South Korea, but the fact that the missile was shot over Northern Japan and prompted warning sirens encouraging people to take cover is a concern."
Meanwhile, on the economic front, French household consumption grew by 0.7% month-on-month in July, alongside quarter-on-quarter GDP growth of 0.5% in the euro area's second-largest economy for the three months to June, according to INSEE.
Both readings were as expected by the market consensus.
According to GfK, its consumer confidence index for Germany referencing the month of September was seen climbing from a reading of 10.8 to 10.9 (consensus: 10.9).
Still on the economic calendar for Tuesday, S & P Case Shiller was scheduled to release its US home price index for the month of June at 1400 BST, followed by the Conference Board's consumer confidence gauge for August at 1500 BST.
Prosieben SAT1 Media was on the front foot amid reports it was looking for possible external investors to back its content production.
Renault and Nissan were also in the spotlight after announcing they were setting up a joint-venture with their partner Dongfeng Motor Group to design and build electric vehicles in China.