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Here are today’s top stories for Europe.

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Don't let Greek debts and French elections get you down. Economic confidence is at its highest since 2011, a sign the euro-area economy is in better shape than it’s been for years. An index on Monday notched its sixth straight increase, rising from 107.9 to 108, and figures due later this week may also confirm improvements in the 19-country bloc. — Catherine Bosley

Brexit terrified this CEO. But in the months since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, his business has jumped 50 percent. Samir Desai, the 33-year old co-founder and boss of Britain’s No. 1 online lender, Funding Circle Ltd., is surprised and a bit baffled at the turn of events. You can read his story and those of three other British businesses in our continuing series, “On Brexit’s Front Lines.”

Will Scotland try again? British Prime Minister Theresa May has reiterated her opposition to another Scottish independence referendum, but an overnight newspaper report that she was bracing for the possibility was enough to hurt the pound on Monday. Sterling’s pain became the euro’s gain as the common currency rose on the improving euro-zone economy and polling gains by French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

Ali Bin Ibrahim al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia's petroleum and mineral resources minister, speaks to journalists ahead of the 168th Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna, Austria, on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015.

Photographer: Lisi Niesner/Bloomberg

He used to move the oil market with his words. But now former Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi says he has left left oil prices and crude markets behind to focus on a new fascination: solar energy. If you want to know more about the outsize role he used to play in global energy, he’ll gladly sell you copy of his new autobiography, “Out of the Desert: My Journey From Nomadic Bedouin to the Heart of Global Oil.”

Finland shares the longest EU border with Russia, and it isn’t a member of NATO. But the Nordic country’s president, Sauli Niinisto, is urging Europe to increase its contributions to NATO and focus more on security as the continent grapples with political turmoil from inside and out.

In the Czech Republic, they’re discussing what it means to be “rich.” Billionaire Finance Minister Andrej Babis, whose party leads the polls for this fall’s parliamentary election, wants to keep the existing 15 percent flat tax but give lower-income earners a break. His opponent, the current prime minister, proposes a sliding scale where the top bracket is 32 percent. The catch? People making just $24,000 per year would fall into that group.

Excitement in the palm of your hand. It’s time for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the world’s biggest annual wireless industry get-together. In case you can’t make it, here's a photo collection of the hottest products.

Attendees look at the Blackberry Keyone smartphone, during its launch event ahead of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017.

Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg

 

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