Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (10): 2031-2049.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201810015

• Traffic and Geopolitical Relations • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The spatial-temporal pattern and optimization of the resettlement of refugees entering Europe in the context of refugee policies

WANG Xiaomeng1,2(),LIU Chen3,CHENG Yang1(),WANG Jin1,CHEN Yawei1,ZHOU Yao1   

  1. 1. Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University,Beijing 100084, China
    3. The College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2017-08-14 Online:2018-10-25 Published:2018-10-25
  • Supported by:
    Open Project by Collaborative Innovation Center for Geopolitical Setting of Southwest China and Borderland Development, No.230200043


Europe is one of the important regions of 'the Belt and Road Initiative', playing both a significant role as an economic corridor connecting Asia and as an endpoint. In the context of globalization, the Belt and Road Initiative as a form of regional economic integration is driven by improvements in transportation and information technologies. Regional economic integration also weakens the borders among nation-states. However, low-income developing countries are pushed to a more marginal economic position and are deprived of a political voice as regional economic integration plays out in the current world economy. These trends are also playing a role in the rapid spread of conflicts at the global scale, one manifestation of which is the refugee crisis in Europe. Consequently, it is necessary to address the impacts of the refugee crisis in Europe and eliminate potential risks in the economic corridors under the Belt and Road Initiative. Taking into account the perspective of geography and refugee settlement policies of European countries, this paper analyzed the spatial-temporal patterns and optimized the migration routes and resettlement of the refugees arriving in Europe from 2015 to 2017 by conducting gray relational analysis, a hierarchical analysis and multi-objective programming. According to the spatial and temporal evolution analysis, refugees migrating to Europe mainly landed in 2015. Meanwhile, the number of landed refugees accepted by European countries were extremely polarized and uneven. The results of the gray relational analysis showed that the decision-making of resettlement of refugees was highly related to welfare policies and income level in the country of destination. However, the changes in refugee policy in various countries had an uncertain impact on the decision-making process of refugees, which also affected the spatial pattern of resettlement of refugees. The results of the hierarchical analysis showed that the Nordic and western European countries were more attractive for refugees, while the livability of the eastern and southern European countries was relatively poor. The number of refugees accepted by most European countries did not match with their level of livability. The optimized pattern of multi-objective planning indicated the limitations of European refugee policy and the challenges of the existing migrating patterns in the context of globalization. The optimized results showed that the migration trend of refugees originally stranded in Turkey and Ukraine was to concentrate in western Europe, the migration trend of refugees originally stranded in Greece and Hungary showed a relatively equally dispersed pattern throughout Europe, and the migration trend of refugees originally stranded in Italy was dispersed in a sector-shape. The optimized migration pattern provides suggestions for policy making in relieving the deteriorating security in the region, balancing the allocation of labor and providing a potential market for investment in construction under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Key words: gray relational analysis (GRA), analytic hierarchy process (AHP), multi-objective planning (MOP), migration network, European refugee crisis, the Belt and Road Initiative