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Europe ends lower with Greece in the spotlight

Europe ends lower as Greece returns to spotlight

European equities closed lower on Monday, with Greece in the spotlight as Greek and German leaders meet amid tensions over Athens' bailout program.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index finished around 0.7 percent lower, extending losses during the session.

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European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday. The meeting came at a time of heated exchanges between Greece and its euro zone neighbors and creditors, particularly Germany. A press conference with the two leaders was expected at 17:00 GMT.

"There is nothing that condemns Greece to be in a difficult situation. There are reforms they can make and they are as able as any other country to do," Jose Manuel Barroso, the former president of the European Commission, told investors in Hong Kong early on Monday.

Despite investor caution, Greek stocks outperformed on Monday, with the Athens Composite benchmark index closing up nearly 3 percent.

The German DAX index underperformed, provisionally closing down 1.3 percent.

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In individual stock news, shares of Standard Chartered Bank closed 8 percent higher after an analyst upgrade by JPMorgan.

Pirelli shares also rose as much as 2 percent after the announcement that ChemChina was buying the Italian tire-maker.

U.S. stocks traded mostly higher on Monday as investors looked ahead to a light week of economic reports, amid some consolidation in currency and oil movements. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the indexes advanced towards all-time highs; the Nasdaq struggled to stay positive but held above 5,000.

—With contribution from CNBC's Mia Tahara-Stubbs and Leslie Shaffer