The EU says countries in its passport-free travel area area should be able to bring back border controls.
But only in the event of persistent security threats and for no longer than three years.
The European Commission says the proposal should be only used a last resort.
First vice-president Frans Timmermans said: The “rules for reintroducing internal border controls were devised in a different time, with different challenges.”
“The exceptional circumstances that we see now, such as the increased terrorist threat, have led us to propose a Schengen Border Code more fit for purpose in this new day and age.”
He said governments could take action when “confronted with serious threats to their public policy or internal security.”
The move follows concern after a spate of terror attacks and the 2015 migrant crisis.
Members of the twenty six country Schengen travel area can reintroduce checks now.
The current limit for security reasons is six months.
That can be extended to two years in exceptional circumstances.