European shares pared gains on Wednesday after euro zone sources said officials were considering delaying parts or even all of the second bailout programme for Greece possibly until after the country holds elections in April.

Bank stocks, which have been a barometer of investment sentiment due to their exposure to euro zone debt, pared gains, although the STOXX Europe 600 Banks index was still up 2.2 percent.

It's a never-ending spiral of mistrust and ping pong, said Gerard Lane, equity strategist at Shore Capital. For general sentiment it's quite poor.

By 1350 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.7 percent at 1,077.60 having reached a session high of 1,080.30 after Greece's Conservative Party said its leader had sent a letter of commitment to austerity measures to the Eurogroup.