LONDON Jan 9 European shares fell on Thursday, as a warning over France's debt levels weighed on the Paris bourse and the region's equity markets tracked a slide in U.S. stocks.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had earlier risen to fresh five-and-a-half year highs, provisionally closed down by 0.5 percent at 1,314.92 points.
France's CAC-40 equity index was the worst-performing European market, and traders said a warning about the country's debt levels from an official had contributed to the Paris sell-off.
Didier Migaud, head of the French public audit office, said France's national debt had reached a "danger zone."
"The market is getting nervous about what's going on in France," said Michel Juvet, chief investment officer at Swiss bank Bordier.