European shares steadied on Wednesday in thin volume as investors were reluctant to take big bets after Greek debt restructuring talks needed to stave off a disorderly default resumed.

French bank Societe Generale , which has exposure to Greece's debt, rose 6 percent to become a top mover after traders cited a news report that said regulator's were telling the country's main banks to boost Greek debt provisions.

The paper said the move would help protect banks from the possibility of an uncontrolled default or a bigger haircut on Greece's debt than previously agreed.

The markets to some extent are hanging on and would have completely sold off if they thought Greece could not come to an agreement, said Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist and head of research at Brewin Dolphin Securities.

If the Greece talks were fruitful it would mean stability for the financial sector and borrowing costs will decrease, but if they are not it will just lead to contagion.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares provisionally closed down 0.1 percent at 1,033.72 points after trading as low as 1,025.15 and as high as 1,037.77. (Reporting by Joanne Frearson)