At a closed meeting in Brussels, 15 countries endorsed the plan to respond to sudden increases in immigration from outside the EU by allowing border guards, The Daily Telegraph reported. An even bigger majority backed border guards when an EU member fails to control its borders with non-members.
The wave of protest that has swept North Africa and the Middle East has been followed by a huge increase in illegal immigrants, mostly from Tunisia, to Italy. That has led many officials to question the Schengen agreement, which created passport-free borders 16 years ago between members.
Britain and Ireland are not part of Schengen.
The proposal requires a vote in the European Parliament after prime ministers discuss it at a summit scheduled June 24.