European markets rose Thursday as investors were hopeful ahead of the meetings between the Greek and other euro zone leaders this week to discuss measures to tackle the economic and financial instability affecting Greece.

The French CAC 40 index advanced 0.84 percent or 28.91 points to 3490.56. Shares of Technip SA rose 1.84 percent and those of Vinci SA climbed 1.31 percent.

London's FTSE 100 index was up 0.54 percent or 31.41 points to 5805.61. Shares of Evraz PLC advanced 3.13 percent and shares of ITV PLC were up 1.61 percent.

The German DAX 30 index rose 0.79 percent or 55.70 points to 7073.45. Shares of Bayer AG advanced 1.17 percent and those of Commerzbank AG climbed 1.34 percent.

Spain's IBEX 35 was up 0.95 percent or 69.50 points to 7410.20. Shares of Abengoa SA rose 2.95 percent and those of Bankia SA climbed 1.91 percent.

Greece is back under the markets' spotlight as the euro zone policy makers begin a series of discussions on its bailout program. On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will meet in Berlin where they are expected to try to reach an agreement on the manner in which to handle the ongoing problems in Greece.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet Merkel and Hollande Friday and Saturday. Samaras is expected to provide the two leaders with greater detail on how Greece will achieve the proposed 11.5 billion euros ($14 billion) of savings demanded by the Troika, which consists of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

It is also expected that Samaras will put forward the case for Greece to be given an additional two years to meet its existing fiscal targets. While Merkel might be willing to make some minor alterations to the existing deal, it has to be seen how far she will agree to anything which will increase the cost of Greece's second bailout package.