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Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis arrived for a meeting with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schauble in Berlin, Monday, as talks between the two nations intensify after negotiations on the restructuring of the Greek economy led Greece's government to delay payment to the IMF. The meeting was unscheduled, but due to Varoufakis being in Berlin to speak at a Hans-Boeckler foundation meeting, the two ministers met. No press conference is expected following their discussions. Greece is resisting calls from the institutions (formerly referred to as the Troika - comprising of the IMF, EU and ECB) to maintain austerity policies, despite Syriza 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 ($8bn) 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. The Syriza government have vowed to break with the "extend and pretend" policies of austerity and argue that Greece's economy can become competitive again, if it is given the chance to grow instead of having to impose more policies of austerity. In a blog entry, posted Sunday, Varoufakis called upon the institutions to facilitate an agreement akin to post-WWII Germany, when "punitive measures" were dropped in the interests of long-term growth. He asked Merkel to give a "speech of hope," equivalent U.S. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes Stuttgart speech in 1946, from "any Greek city" to usher in a new era.
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