A Greek minister said on Saturday that Greece would swiftly fix the overflow at the Idomeni refugee camp on the Macedonian border where some 12,000 people are waiting to cross in miserable conditions.
"I hope the situation at Idomeni is resolved within a week without recourse to force," Dimitris Vitsas, the minister charged with coordinating the refugee flow, said.
Some 200 refugees demonstrated against conditions at the camp on Saturday, shouting "open the border" and sitting on a cross-border railway line.
Conditions in the camp have worsened since four Balkan countries along the main route to northern Europe that hundreds of thousands of refugees have used in the last year closed their borders last week.
The measures have forced thousands of refugees, including many children, to camp out in increasing squalor amid Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II.
A 44-year-old Syrian refugee, Nazim Serhan, began a hunger strike on Saturday to highlight the plight of the refugees at the border.
"I want to see her [his wife], just for one day," said Serhan, who travelled to Europe along with his three children in hope of joining his wife in Germany who is battling cancer.
Vitsas said Athens would try "to convince" refugees to accept a transfer to other reception centers across the country, adding that 400 had done just that on Friday, moving to centers in northern Greece.
Figures released by Greek authorities on Saturday estimated that some 12,000 people remained at the Idomeni camp but thousands more are camped out in fields nearby waiting in vain for the border to reopen.
Vitsas said that "50,000 spots" would be available in reception centers across Greece "by the end of next week," some 10,000 more than currently.
Greece is currently hosting more than 42,000 refugees with around 7,700 on islands in the Aegean Sea. Many more - most of them fleeing the Syrian conflict - are still undertaking perilous voyages to reach the islands from Turkey.
The government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been heavily affected by the closure of borders of neighbouring states.
On March 7, European Union and Turkish leaders agreed a plan that would see refugees sent back from Greece to Turkey in exchange for the EU resettling Syrian refugees from Turkish camps in a "one for one" swap.
Turkey’s proposal was quickly criticised by the United Nations top officials on refugees and human rights who questioned whether sending refugees en masse from Greece to Turkey would be legal.
The plan will be finalised at the next EU summit on March 17-18.