The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was higher with all major bourses in positive territory. Aer Lingus shares were up 2 percent after the Irish government agreed to sell its 25 percent stake in the airline to IAG, the owner of British Airways.
Shares in IAG were up 1.2 percent on the FTSE Wednesday, making it one of the best performers on the index. The other best performers were Imperial Tobacco and Shire, whose share prices target was raised by Deutsche Bank.
Shares of luxury goods maker LVMH were trading 1.1 percent higher after a report that the group was in talks to buy the French newspaper Le Parisien from media group Amaury, as it looks to strengthen its media business.
Greece in focus
Meanwhile, Greece remains a hot potato for markets as its financial crisis appears to worsen. On Tuesday, Greece and its Europeans creditors sought to play down fears that Athens would default on a June 5 debt payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Senior members of the Greek government have warned that the country does not have the money to pay the IMF back next week, however, Reuters reported Tuesday. The crisis is likely to be on the agenda at a meeting of Group of 7 (G7) finance ministers later this week.
Also in the headlines was international governing body, FIFA, after top officials were arrested on corruption charges. Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice said seven high-ranking international football officials were arrested early Wednesday as part of a U.S. investigation.
Elsewhere, the U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth will open the country’s parliament Wednesday and will set out the government’s plans for a referendum on European Union (EU) membership.
In a potential setback for Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron – who is currently seeking treaty change in Europe, Germany and France – has agreed to plans on strengthening cooperation among euro zone countries without changing existing EU treaties, according to a Franco-German paper seen by Reuters.