France seeks tighter border controls by temporarily suspending the 1995 Schengen Treaty after an influx of Tunisian, Libyan and Egyptian refugees from Italy.
"The governance of Schengen is failing. It seems there is a need to reflect on a mechanism that will allow a temporary suspension of the agreement, in case of a systemic failure of an external (EU) border, to intervene through a provisional suspension, until such time as the weakness is corrected," AFP reported the French presidency as saying.
French officials have accused Italy of abusing the treaty after granting 20,000 temporary residence permits to the Tunisian immigrants who had fled from the unrest following their country's revolution.
Italy, on the other hand, has accused France of overstepping the agreement when it temporarily stopped trains carrying North African migrants traveling from Italy last week.
The visa-free Schengen zone allows for border-free travel between 25 European countries, excluding Britain and Ireland. The current agreement allows for the suspension of the treaty only in cases of a "grave threat to the public order or internal security" for a maximum of 30 days.
As the first country of arrival, Italy is responsible for managing the refugees, reportedly numbering 26,000 from the embattled North African countries this year. Being a former French colony, many Tunisians mostly like travelling to France where they have friends and relatives.
Last year, France expelled thousands ethnic Romanian and Bulgarian families, in a move President Nicolas Sarkozy claims was to dismantle illegal camps of Roma gypsies.
Many human rights groups have called the move xenophobic.