(Updates prices at settle; adds Greek official’s comment)
* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.1 pct, just below 7-year high
* Low hopes for deal in Greece debt talks
* Shares in Bouygues up after says signs of buyer interest
By Francesco Canepa and Blaise Robinson
LONDON/PARIS, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Greek shares fell and pan-European indexes slipped on Monday as investors tempered their expectations that euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels would find common ground with Greece’s new leftist government.
The currency bloc’s finance ministers and the Greek government, elected last month on promises of ending austerity and onerous credit terms, met to discuss what the country is prepared to do to continue to get more loans from the euro zone.
But with a deadline looming in the form of the expiry of the current funding package on Feb. 28, there was little optimism among those who took part in preparatory talks since Friday.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.1 percent lower at 1,502.10 points, just below a seven-year high touched during the session on Friday.
Greek shares were down 3.8 percent after rallying 11 percent last week as optimism about a deal grew. Greek banks were down 11.5 percent.
“We can’t really expect that an agreement will be reached today,” Mirabaud Securities senior equity sales trader John Plassard said.
After the market close, a Greek government official said that a draft text presented to euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday spoke of Greece extending its current bailout package and as such was “unreasonable” and would not be accepted.
The European Central Bank has authorised emergency funding, known as Emergency Liquidity Assistance, for Greek banks but will review its policy on Wednesday in the light of the Brussels talks.
“I can’t rule out that, at Wednesday’s meeting, governors may decide to stop Emergency Liquidity Assistance for Greek banks to put pressure (on Greece) to reach a deal,” said Vincenzo Longo, a strategist at IG in Milan.
UBS strategists warned on Monday that uncertainty over Greece’s future and a military conflict in Ukraine risked sapping a nascent economic recovery in the euro zone.
Bucking the trend, French conglomerate Bouygues rose 3.8 percent in brisk volume after saying that it had received signs of interest in its telecoms unit in recent months from potential buyers, although no talks were under way.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Mark Heinrich)