Italian Industry Minister Corrado Passera blasted the European Union for its handling of the crisis in Greece, but stressed that he believes the euro will survive even if Athens defaults and is forced to leave the single currency.
Greece is in political and economic turmoil with talks on forming a new government failing this week after the parties that backed austerity measures agreed with the EU to obtain bailouts performed badly at elections on May 6.
"It's necessary to help Greece get out of this situation," Passera, who stepped down as CEO of the Intesa Sanpaolo bank group to join Premier Mario Monti's emergency government of technocrats in November, said on Rai television.
"The problem was relatively small (as Greece) represented a small percentage of European GDP. But the situation has been managed very badly.
"Perhaps even now Europe is demanding impossible things after the great sacrifices the Greeks have made".
He added, however, that "the credibility of the euro is not in question" and that "the euro could hold up even without Athens".
He also said that Europe has not put enough emphasis on economic growth.
"Europe has shown a great lack of leadership regarding growth," Passera said.
"It seems to me that greater awareness is taking hold of the importance of growth, together with rigour (in public finances), but Europe must show this in practice".