ATHENS - Greece's top migration official on Wednesday denied suggestions that its place in the EU's passport-free Schengen zone is in jeopardy because of failings in its handling of the migrant crisis.

The Financial Times had reported that several European ministers and senior EU officials believe threatening suspension from the Schengen zone could persuade Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to "deliver on his promises and take up EU offers of help".

"The FT report contains falsehoods and distortions," junior interior minister for migration Yiannis Mouzalas told reporters. He added that certain EU countries were "falsely" accusing Athens over shortcomings shared by the bloc as a whole, such as delays in repatriating economic migrants.

Mouzalas said the FT report reflected "commonly used" criticisms against Greece "by these member states", without naming the states. Hungary and Slovakia have recently criticised Greece for failing to adequately protect the EU's southeastern border.

Mouzalas denied that Greece has resisted taking 300 European migrant registration machines as suggested by the FT report, noting that Athens asked for 100 of them. He also denied that Greece had taken insufficient steps to repatriate migrants. "We have organised returns to Pakistan that were not accepted, and we are trying to organise returns to Turkey that are also not accepted," Mouzalas said. The FT said Athens also had reservations about allowing European patrols on its border with its northern neighbour Macedonia.

Pressure on Greece to step up border vigilance amid an unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants to Europe this year has increased after the November 13 jihadist attacks in Paris.

At least two of the Paris attackers were confirmed to have passed registration on the Greek island of Leros in October, posing as refugees. Greek authorities insist that in the absence of forewarning from other European agencies, it is almost impossible to detect whether extremists are hidden among the refugee influx. The International Organization for Migration estimated in late November that nearly 860,000 migrants had landed in Europe so far this year, with over 3,500 dying while crossing the Mediterranean in search of safety. Athens also notes that most of the attackers, who were French and Belgian nationals, were also able to detect evasion elsewhere in Europe.