Europe midday: Stocks gain after Brussels ramps up stimulus
Auto manufacturers and lenders' shares were higher in early afternoon trading after Brussels unveiled its proposal for "revamped long-term EU budget" worth €1.85trn.
Investors were also still reacting to governments' plans to reopen their economies and ease restrictions on travel across the Continent.
Commenting on the European Commission's budget proposals, analysts at Danske Bank said: "Looking ahead, this does not solve the matter of high debt levels but it should help European economies near term, reducing the risk of an asymmetric recovery."
But Danske added a caveat.
"Looking ahead, this does not solve the matter of high debt levels but it should help European economies near term, reducing the risk of an asymmetric recovery."
Against that backdrop, as of 1430 GMT, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was ahead by 0.46% to 350.53, alongside a 1.56% rise for the German Dax to 11,686.30 while the FTSE Mibtel had managed to reverse an early dip and was up by 0.89% at 18,018.28.
Pacing gains on the Stoxx 600 were shares of auto and parts makers with a 6.36% jump in a sub-index tracking the group, while lenders shares were advancing 4.98%.
Travel&Leisure names were posting big gains for a third day running, adding 3.94%.
Finland's Nokian Tyres was still near the top of the leaderboard on the Stoxx 600 after the company named Jukka Moisio as its new chief executive officer.
But it was British turnaround specialist, Melrose Industries, that was doing best.
On the Paris bourse meanwhile, shares of carmaker Renault were racing higher after announcing details of its new strategic plan alongside partners Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi.
Hennes&Mauritz was also in the headlines after the Nordic fashion retailer said the 2,500 staff furloughed at its Stockholm HQ would return to work in July.
In the technology space meanwhile, German chipmaker Infineon turned lower after successfully raising €1.06bn in fresh equity to help finance the purchase of US-based Cypress Semiconductor.
Linked to the debate around euro area debt sustainability, European Central Bank governing council member, Isabel Schnabel, reportedly said the recent controversial ruling by the German Constitutional tribunal, in Karlsruhe, "does not directly affect" the ECB's bond buying programme.
Further west, survey readings from INSEE revealed that French manufacturing sector confidence lagged the rebound expected by analysts in May by a wide margin.
The statistics agency's index rose from a revised reading of 68 for April to 70 in April but that was far below the recovery to 85 anticipated by economists.
Claus Vistesen at Pantheon Macroeconomics termed the figures "dreadful" despite problems around data-collection, methodology changes and the timing of the survey, which was conducted in the first half of the reference month, when the country was still under lockdown.