ROME- The European Union's biggest countries may be prepared to see Greece leave the euro zone due to growing impatience with its new government's debt demands, Maltese Finance Minister Edward Scicluna told the weekly Malta Today.
"I think they've now reached a point where they will tell Greece 'If you really want to leave, leave'," Scicluna told the newspaper.
"And I think they mean it because Germany, the Netherlands and others will be hard and they will insist that Greece repays back the solidarity shown by the member states by respecting the conditions," Scicluna said.
Greece needs financial support to remain solvent beyond late March. Its new left-wing government has proposed extending its loan agreement but it has rejected extending any bailout that would maintain previously agreed austerity measures.
Hours ahead of talks in Brussels, a senior Greek official said a deal was close, while Germany said Greece's latest proposal was a "good signal" although it did not go far enough in its present form.
Scicluna's comments, apparently made on Thursday, came ahead of a euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels to decide on Greece's request for a loan extension which has drawn a skeptical response from Germany.
"I think tomorrow's meeting will be very difficult," Scicluna told the paper.