An assessment of the plausible climate change in precipitation and surface air temperature (SAT) over the European region by the end of the 21st century is provided. The assessment is based on the results of output of the ocean–atmosphere models participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, phase 5 (CMIP5). Six climate models that best reproduce the historical behaviour of SAT over greater Europe were selected from the CMIP5 project using a performance-based selection method of CMIP5 general circulation models for further assessments. The analysis of historical simulations within the scope of the CMIP5 project reveals that six models (namely, CNRM-CM5, HadGEM2ES, GFDL-CM3, CanESM2, MIROC5 and MPI-ESM-LR) sufficiently reproduce historical tendencies and natural variability over the region of interest. The climate change in SAT and precipitation by the end of the 21st century (2070–2099) was examined within the scope of RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios for these selected models. Typical regional warming due to RCP4.5 (RCP8.5) scenario is assessed as 3–4.5 °C (as 4–8 °C) in summer and winter, while a significant reduction of precipitation (typically 20–40%) is obtained only in summer.