European shares pare gains as Germany rejects Greek proposal
* FTSEurofirst 300 hits fresh 7-year high, before falling back
* Greek banking stocks still up 4.4 pct, extend recent rally
* European profits up 23 pct excluding energy sector -data
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Feb 19 (Reuters) - European stocks trimmed gains around midday on Thursday after Germany rejected a new proposal from Athens for an extension of its bailout programme.
The German finance ministry said the proposal fell short of conditions set out by Greece's euro zone partners. "The letter from Athens is not a proposal that leads to a substantial solution," ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said in a statement.
"In truth it goes in the direction of a bridge financing, without fulfilling the demands of the programme. The letter does not meet the criteria agreed by the Eurogroup on Monday."
Stocks had rallied earlier, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index climbing to a seven-year high, after Greece asked euro zone countries for a six-month extension of its bailout programme, pledging to honour all its debts and not to take unilateral action that would undermine agreed fiscal targets.
At 1239 GMT, the broader FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.2 percent at 1,518.97 points in volatile trade. Continuación...