Leading European Union finance officials have pleaded with Greece not to renege on its bailout terms and to stay the course of its painful austerity program to prevent even worse economic hardship.

Greeks fed up with the painful austerity measures gave support to anti-bailout parties in last week's elections. Many euro finance ministers warned however that Athens must stick to the terms of the rescue package if it wants to remain in the 17-nation euro currency.

Ahead of a meeting Monday, eurozone finance ministers have seemed unwilling to offer Greece easier bailout terms to keep it in the eurozone, stressing that whether it leaves the common currency or not, it would take years of belt-tightening to ease its debt.

Belgian Finance Minister Steven Vanackere says "An exit will solve nothing."