Greece needs EU help to avoid chaos over migrant crisis: Merkel

Berlin, Feb 29 (IANS) Europe cannot allow Greece to fall into “chaos”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said, amid sharp divisions among members over the migrant crisis.

Austria and several Balkan countries have introduced restrictions stranding migrants in Greece.

Merkel said the European Union nations had not battled to keep Greece in the euro just to leave it “in the lurch”, BBC reported on Monday.

She also defended her decision to open German borders to migrants, despite a resulting slump in her popularity.

More than one million people arrived to claim asylum in 2015, sparking opposition within her governing coalition and a rise in far-right extremism.

Merkel said she had no “Plan B” and would not change course, rejecting a proposed limit on migration.

In the coming weeks she faces a major test when voters go to the polls in three German states.

On Greece, she said: “Do you seriously believe that all the euro states that last year fought all the way to keep Greece in the eurozone, and we were the strictest, can one year later allow Greece to, in a way, plunge into chaos?”

Greece is the main entry point for migrants arriving in Europe, and was infuriated after a group of countries led by Austria installed controls.

It recalled its ambassador to Austria after the group held talks but did not invite Greece.

A key meeting is scheduled on March 7 between EU members and Turkey and a further summit due later next month.

With more migrants expected to take advantage of warming weather to travel to Europe, it will be a chance for the EU to agree the common response that has so far eluded them.

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