European markets are little changed Thursday ahead of two key central bank decisions which could be overshadowed by events surrounding them.

Both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank are expected to keep their benchmark lending rates unchanged at record lows, but investors will be interested to see what each has to say about the extension of "non-traditional" monetary policy tools, particularly here in the UK, where the economy is fighting to avoid its first ever triple-dip recession.

However, ECB President Mario Draghi is likely to face embarrassing questions over his role as Italy's top central banker during the time when its third-largest lender was said to have hid billions of losses in derivatives trades as it negotiated state aid.

In the UK, incoming Bank of England governor Mark Carney will give his first appearance before UK lawmakers who are expected to question his plans for a new monetary strategy on Threadneedle Street.