AFP Europe News Agenda

What's happening in Europe on Thursday:

+ Francis begins first day of his papacy

+ EU summit to tackle jobs, growth

VATICAN CITY: Argentina's Jorge Mario Bergoglio, elected Pope Francis, spends his first day as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. The 76-year-old is the Church's first Latin American pope. Francis will celebrate his first mass at 1600 GMT at the Sistine Chapel. Picture. Video. Graphic. (VATICAN-RELIGION-POPE)

BRUSSELS: European Union leaders begin a two-day summit at 1600 GMT, against a backdrop of anti-austerity protests. The talks include a late-night eurozone-only meeting, leading into a gathering of eurozone finance ministers on Friday night -- aiming to nail the terms for a bailout of Cyprus. Picture. Video. (EU-SUMMIT-)

-- from 1200 GMT, Conservative leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel huddle for tactical preparations, with Socialist leaders meeting an hour later;

-- from 1300 GMT, demonstrators including laid-off ArcelorMittal steelworkers -- whose protests have turned violent elsewhere -- assemble following call by European trade unions;

-- at 1430 GMT, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives scheduled press conference;

-- from 1600 GMT, opening of the summit focused on ways to allow more flexibility in austerity policies, in an effort to boost job creation and growth;

-- from 2100 GMT, official press conference with permanent EU heads, followed by re-convening of national leaders in eurozone formation, discussions also likely on Italy's political impasse.


GENEVA: The World Health Organisation will publish a report on the status of road safety around the world, at 0900 GMT. (WHO-HEALTH-ROAD-SAFETY)

MOSCOW: Visiting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin. From 0900 GMT. Picture. (RUSSIA-PALESTINIANS-POLITICS-DIPLOMACY)

LONDON: The International Institute for Strategic Studies releases its annual "Military Balance" report. Press conference in London at 1000 GMT. Video. (BRITAIN-MILITARY)

PRISTINA: EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton meets Kosovo leaders to prepare the next round of EU-brokered talks between Belgrade and Pristina. Picture. (KOSOVO-SERBIA-EU-POLITICS)

ANKARA: UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos is scheduled to meet Turkish officials to discuss the situation of Syrian refugees taking shelter there. No timetable provided. (SYRIA-CONFLICT-TURKEY-UN-REFUGEES)

BERLIN: German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to meet his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian. Meeting scheduled at 1130 GMT. No press conference.

- Westerwelle is later to meet Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci. Press conference scheduled at 1530 GMT.


- Westerwelle is also due to hold talks with the UN special representative for Afghanistan Jan Kubis. Time not given.


GENEVA: The UN's Human Rights Council session continues with a review of the rights situations in nine countries, including Ukraine and Pakistan. From 0800 GMT. (UN-RIGHTS)