Around two dozen activists gathered in support of Greece at Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin, as Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis arrived for his keynote speech at the Hans-Boeckler Foundation event on Monday. The anti-austerity protesters held up placards and banners adorned with slogans such as "Welcome Yanis Varoufakis" and "End the debt-dictation." One activist received a kiss on the cheek by the Greek finance minister as the group briefly met him before he entered the building. Varoufakis met with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble in an unscheduled meeting earlier on Monday, arranged due to the intensifying negotiations of Greek debt. Greece is resisting calls from the institutions (formerly referred to as the Troika - comprising of the IMF, EU and ECB) to maintain austerity policies, with the ruling Syriza party winning a popular mandate to break with the policies. Both Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Varoufakis have condemned the creditors' proposals, with Varoufakis calling them "borderline insulting" and Tsipras calling them "absurd." The line of the Greek authorities drew the ire of European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker, who accused Tsipras of misleading his MPs on the position of the institutions. Since Syriza's election, Greek authorities and the institutions have been negotiating for five months to unlock the €7.2 billion ($8 billion) of rescue funds it needs to pay the IMF. The bailout extension ends on June 30. If Greece fails to meet the deadline, it faces default and exit from the Eurozone.
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