In what would be a huge shift for a country with one of the most generous asylum policies, the ministry says the EU should adopt an Australian-style system under which migrants intercepted at sea are sent for processing at camps in third countries.
"The elimination of the prospect of reaching the European coast could convince migrants to avoid embarking on the life-threatening and costly journey in the first place," the paper quoted a ministry spokeswoman as saying.
"The goal must be to remove the basis for people-smuggling organizations and to save migrants from the life-threatening journey," it said.
The ministry's proposal calls for migrants picked up in the Mediterranean - most of whom set off from conflict-torn Libya - to be sent to Tunisia, Egypt or other north African states to apply for asylum from there. If their applications are accepted, the migrants could then be transported safely to Europe.
The ministry said there were no concrete plans or discussions at EU-level about the proposal, but opposition politicians condemned the plan.