Artificial island could provide safe haven for refugees


Ambitious plans to create a man-made island off the coast of Tunisia to provide a home for refugees have been outlined by Dutch architect Theo Deutinger.

The plan has been conceived to help to avert the ongoing deaths of migrants as they try to reach Europe by unseaworthy craft from north Africa

Dubbed “the first truly European city” by Deutinger but formally called “Europe in Africa”  and his studio TD, the landmass would be constructed on the Tunisian Plateau – a thin strip of raised seabed in the Mediterranean.


According to the plan The European Union would rent the area from both Tunisia and Italy – its two closest nations – on a 99-year contract,

Engineers would then then create an artificial landmass that would serve as a new country “with its own constitution, economy and social system” under the protection of the European Union.

Reached via email, Deutinger stated his project would be the first city that is a part of Europe but not a part of any European nation state.

He said he hopes the setting of the country could combine the best aspects of Europe and Africa withy architectural inspiration drawing from both contients and added refugees he has been helping with language classes have embraced the idea.

“It was received very positively since it is located in a familiar climate zone which most of the people are from,” he explains.

“Interestingly enough, the largest complaints after the difficulty of learning the new language and the very cold attitude of the Europeans was the weather. In the Netherlands, where our office is located, people are waiting for a summer that will never come.”

The designer said that regular boats from North Africa would allow refugees and migrants to arrive in safety. While on the island, new arrivals would be given a chance to work.

“One has to imagine the beginning of this city as the beginning of an American pioneer town,” Deutinger said. Those who live on the island wouldn’t be granted automatic E.U. citizenship, but they could gain it after five years of living there.

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