This is a good observation: “Today, the sick man of Europe is not any one country, or collection of countries; the sick man of Europe is Europe.” (Joel Kotkin)
This is the entry "Sick man of Europe" in my Dictionary that is being prepared to print now:
Sick man of Europe
The sick man of Europe is a label used for the continent's weak economies. Given the wide variety of bad economic policies practised from Lisbon to Moscow and Brussels to Istanbul, there have always been some sick men of Europe. Originally used by the Russian tsar in the 1850's to denote Turkey, and later for a number of other countries, including Russia herself. More recently, used for Great Britain in the 1970's, Germany in the 1990's, and France, Italy, Portugal and Greece during the European financial crisis.
See tiger economies
A label attached to a country which is rapidly advancing towards a banking or currency crisis. We heard about the Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand) before the Asian crisis of 1997, about the Celtic Tiger (Ireland) before the crisis of 2008, the Baltic Tigers (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) at the same time, and, most notably, Iceland, which was proudly labelled the Nordic Tiger shortly before its banking system folded and the country became insolvent. Most European economies, however, were struck by a crisis without being known as tigers.
See sick man
After watching a dreary march of negative indicators in recent months, the business editor of Germany's Die Welt and Welt am Sonntag newspapers, Olaf Gersemann, also presents a bleak outlook in a book released earlier this month, "The Germany Bubble".
We are witnessing the "swan song of a great economic nation", he warns, convinced that the country is taking advantage of a mix of "very favourable circumstances" that will "soon disappear".
Gersemann (...) frets that Germany is on its way to becoming the "sick man" again.
"Germany is hailed as the model for the world... but pride comes before a fall," he writes.
A ranking of economic growth over the last two decades puts Germany at 156th out of 166 countries, just behind Polynesian archipelago Tonga, and in the same ranks as Italy, Portugal, Ukraine, Haiti and Greece, Gersemann notes.
Source: Creeping angst in Germany as economists fear best is over