European stocks fell early on Monday, hitting a six-week low, as the expected failure of a U.S. congressional committee to agree on how to slash the deficit revived fears about the country's finances and rattled investors.

At 0805 GMT (8:05 a.m. British time), the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares was down 0.7 percent at 944.47 points, losing ground for the fifth time in six sessions.

Europe is not the only one with debt problems, and at least on this side of the Atlantic, progress has been made while in the United States, there's a political gridlock, said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading, at Global Equities.

Republicans and Democrats on a congressional deficit-reduction panel are expected to announce on Monday they have been unable to reach a deal after months of effort, congressional sources said on Sunday.

Cyclical miners were among the top losers in Europe on Monday, with Xstrata down 1.1 percent and Rio Tinto down 1.1 percent.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson)