Angela Merkel: Closing Europe’s borders would plunge Greece into ‘crisis’ –

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But Mrs Merkel warned that would leave Greece to face hundreds of thousands of migrants alone.

“Our responsibility is not to solve the problem at the expense of another country but together. That’s what we did in the euro crisis and that’s what we have to do in the refugee crisis,” she said.

“What has happened is exactly what we feared: a country is now left alone with its problems, and we can’t allow that.”

Mrs Merkel was speaking in a German television interview to defend her “open-door” refugee policy, which has come under fire both at home and from other European leaders.

But she spent much of the interview speaking out against moves by Austria and other countries to close borders.

“The problem is they acted unilaterally. Greece was simply left on the outside,” she said.

“The border was closed from the Macedonian side, without anyone asking Greece about whether it wanted to close its borders.”

Mrs Merkel has called for EU leaders to work together to solve the migrant crisis and not to allow it to destroy the border-free Schengen Area.

The Brenner motorway, which leads to Austria, at the Tyrol border with Italy

But Austria vowed to press on with its efforts to close the Balkan Route to asylum-seekers by getting countries along it to close their borders.

“We don’t have to take criticism from anyone on any said,” Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the Austrian interior minister said.

“Apparently for some a European solutuion is for all the migrants to mass in Austria.”

Relations between Austria and Greece have been severely strained over the border closures, with Greece withdrawing its ambassador from Vienna and rejecting a proposed visit by Ms Mikl-Leitner to Athens.

But the interior minister said Greece had to show it was prepared to “cooperate seriously” over the migrant crisis.

She told Germany’s Bild newspaper Austria would “press on” with its efforts to close the Balkan Route.

“Perhaps this will increase the will to act and contribute to a solution,” she said.

Meanwhile Mrs Merkel defended the “open-door” policy that has seen support plummet for her in the opinion polls.

Migrants reach the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey

She is facing state elections in Germany in two weeks that could see support for her Christian Democrat party badly hit over her refugee policy.

But she refused to set any limit on the number of asylum-seekers Germany will accept.

“Sometimes, I despair too. Some things go too slow. There are many conflicting interests in Europe,” she said.

“But I am damned with the duty to do everything I can to ensure Europe finds a joint solution.”

Mrs Merkel is pushing for EU leaders to agree a deal with Turkey to solve the crisis at a summit in two weeks.

A coalition of willing EU countries would agree to accept quotas of Syrian refugees from Turkey in exchange for Turkish help stopping the flow of asylum-seekers into Europe.

“There is so much violence and hardship on our doorstep.” Mrs Merkel said.

“What’s right for Germany in the long term? I believe it is to keep Europe together and to show humanity.”

Angela Merkel: Closing Europe’s borders would plunge Greece into ‘crisis’ –