The European Union will nearly treble its spending on frontier defence and create a new 1,500-strong rapid reaction force under proposals unveiled on Tuesday to tackle the migration crisis.
The plan is aimed at boosting security on Europe's perimeter while preserving the 26-nation Schengen zone at the continent's heart, within which people can travel freely across national borders without passport checks.
If approved by governments, a new European Border and Coast Guard will replace the EU's Frontex agency and have expanded powers, including the new standby force. It will have funding worth 322 million euros ($354 million) by 2020.
Officials presented the scheme as a boost for states on Europe's Mediterranean frontier. Obligations to rescue and shelter those desperate enough to take to the sea have seen Greek and Italian coastguards and immigration services swamped by a million people this year, many fleeing civil war in Syria.
The executive European Commission also wants the power to deploy EU forces without the consent of the member state concerned -- an idea that has already hit resistance in national capitals and which many see as impractical.